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WA economy forecast to lift itself out of slump

WA’s resources and engineering sectors are responsible for a projected surge in employment, according to a recent survey, despite a lack of confidence from small business.

TMP’s quarterly Job Index Survey revealed that Western Australia’s forecasted employment was well above the national average and that project developments within the resources and engineering sectors were driving our economy out of last year’s slump.

The survey revealed WA was up 17.8 per cent on the previous quarter, with 27.7 per cent of WA employers hiring staff – well above the national figure of 18 per cent.

General manager of TMP Worldwide’s WA office Barry Knight said WA’s expected population growth combined with the start of new engineering and resource projects had contributed to the healthy outlook.

“A significant support structure is needed for the projects that are due to start soon,” he said.

“They all need supplies, goods and services.”

The survey revealed that small business confidence was not strong, with a result against the national trend.

“We did not ask specific questions about the changes to the industrial relations legislation, but what we find with small businesses is that they are probably more uncertain about new changes,” he said.

“Small business owners have taken a risk and find it difficult to be dictated to by law.”

Mr Knight said the survey also found that the technology slump had reached its peak and was headed upward this year.

“We’ve seen a rebound in technology confidence, with a 22 per cent rise in the IT sector,” he said.

“That industry went down 55 per cent from January to December. You can only go down so far for so long.

“A lot of decisions were put on hold after September 11 and people are now realising they’ve go to get on with things.”

TMP director John Banks said the overall figures were a positive indication of the national economy.

“Australia is coming out of the downturn of last year. WA would be close to the top – only the ACT has better figures,” he said.

“In WA, the level of decreased employment is 6 per cent across the board, which is the least amount of decrease around the country. The figures tell us there will be a lower level of redundancy and a slightly higher level of optimism.”

He said TMP Worldwides’ surveys provided an accurate synopsis of the coming quarter.

“This is the 29th quarterly overview. They have all been very accurate.

“We do go back and check that some companies did do what they said they would.”

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