10/09/2015 - 10:10

Win for women in employment figures

10/09/2015 - 10:10

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Employment in Western Australia lifted in August to 1.36 million, adding around 7,000 jobs in seasonally adjusted terms on July, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Win for women in employment figures

Employment in Western Australia lifted in August to 1.36 million, adding around 7,000 jobs in seasonally adjusted terms on July, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Women were the biggest winners, with employed females up 9,500 to just more than 600,000, in seasonally adjusted terms while the number of employed men actually fell around 2,500.

The state’s unemployment rate fell, from 6.4 per cent to 6.1 per cent, as the number of unemployed fell in seasonally adjusted terms by more than 2,500.

The figures mean not only are a number of unemployed workers finding jobs, but also that many previous outsiders are joining the labour force, partly driving the surge in employment.

That could include second income earners or young people leaving education.

Around 3,500 workers joined the labour force in August, driving participation rates to their highest level since April 2013, at 69 per cent.

Nationally, unemployment was slightly down, to 6.2 per cent.

HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the numbers pointed to an improvement in domestic conditions in the past year.

“This could be interpreted as somewhat at odds with recent figures on GDP and business investment, but is supported by indicators such as the key surveys of business conditions and non-mining corporate profitability, which have shown improving trends recently,” he said.

“Sectors that have been a drag on growth, particularly the mining sector, are not big employers (mining accounts for around 2 per cent of total employment).

“The areas growth is shifting towards, particularly the service sectors, are more labour-intensive, and this is where the majority of the gains in employment have been seen over recent quarters.”

He said participation was trending upwards, but wages would not accelerate for some time.

“While the labour market has improved over the past year, there still remains a degree of slack, which is likely to persist for some time yet, Mr Bloxham said.

“This will keep wage growth subdued.”

St George Bank senior economist Janu Chan said the numbers defied expectations.

“The labour market has continued to defy what would be expected, given the below average pace of growth in the economy,” Ms Chan said.

“Again, the job gain in August surprised with its strength, adding 17,400 and followed a very solid outcome in July.”

Shee said that there was still spare capacity in the economy and that would lead to continued weak monetary policy settings.

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