Construction driving employment increases: Pete Wargent

Construction driving employment increases: Pete Wargent
Construction driving employment increases: Pete Wargent

Total employment increased by 80,000 over the three months to February 2017, according to the Detailed Labour Force Figures reported yesterday by the ABS. 

Over the year to February, employment was up by 190,400, the strongest pace of growth in a year and well above the long run average.

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Very good on paper!

Rather too good, in fact, in the event.

To cut a long story short, upon checking with the ABS, it seems that the figures were just not right.

A slight glitch in the matrix, one might say.

The quarterly gains were driven by a large 45,500 increase in construction employment.

Mining employment is also now seen to be rising again. 

On the other hand, the rebound in manufacturing employment seems to have popped, and employment in the retail trade sector has apparently been crushed over the past year, down by a thumping 62,700. 

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A bit of a mixed bag, and one which suggests to me that the economy has become too heavily reliant upon the residential building boom.

Construction employment has now soared to 1,114,800 from a total workforce of about 12 million, which seems incredibly high - well above historic norms - and probably peaky. 

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Remarkably the rebound in total mining employment to 241,700 means that employment in the industry is now only 36,700 below the 2012 peak. 

Where are the jobs? Perhaps I'll look at the regional jobs growth another time.

Just to note here for now that Sydney has consistently seen the lowest unemployment rate of the major capital cities, and Adelaide the highest. 

Hobart takes out the most improved award. 

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Brisbane is now seeing population growth picking up as expected, which over time will help to tackle the inner city apartment glut, though this is also putting pressure on detached house prices in sought after school zones. 

But to date Greater Brisbane doesn't appear to be creating the jobs to keep its unemployment rate down.

And it needs to.

PETE WARGENT is the co-founder of AllenWargent property buyers (London, Sydney) and a best-selling author and blogger.

His latest book is Four Green Houses and a Red Hotel.

Pete Wargent

Pete Wargent

Pete Wargent is the co-founder of BuyersBuyers.com.au, offering affordable homebuying assistance to all Australians, and a best-selling author and blogger.

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