Australian job growth and economy strong and growing

15 September 2006


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Australia's policy of encouraging skilled migrants aged 15 to 34 is ensuring more Australian tax payers to support the retired, with this age group now making up more than 70% of skilled immigration to Australia.

Due to the progress this migration provides, permanent residence immigration is hoped by policy-makers to reach 140,000 this financial year, and business groups are lobbying for this to be raised to 180,000 in the next. Employment in Australia climbed five times more than expected during June this year, due in large part to workers being taken on by building companies for mining and energy projects.

Fifteen years of uninterrupted economic growth also means 16 new positions have been added to the Skilled Migration Program, extending the Skilled Occupations List to 81 positions, and 120,000 job vacancies exist across the country, according to government-run employment website Jobsearch. Figures released by the Bureau of Statistics have indicated that employment has risen by 52,000 after gaining a revised 47,000 in May. This is the biggest rise in employment the country has seen for almost two years.

Craig James, chief economist at CommSec (part of the Australian Commonwealth Bank), said: "If there are more people, then retail spending will be higher, more homes will be built and more services provided."

Australia's population growth, at 1.2%, is double that of China, triple that of Europe and on a par with Mexico. This contrasts sharply with the low population growth, increasing graying population and thus slowing economy in the world's economically developed countries.

The recent increase in Australia's workforce is due to a combination of mining companies expanding in order to meet increased demand from Asia, and the building of roads, dams and power stations by state governments. The government is also actively recruiting more hospital workers and teachers on top of the 80,000 jobs that have been added to the health and community service sector in the last year.

Australian companies have conducted talent-search road shows world-wide in order to lure skilled workers to fill vacancies in industries such as mining, construction and engineering.

Mining investment has increased by a staggering 91 per cent in the last year, creating jobs throughout the country, particularly in Queensland, where the top 400 privately owned companies expect an 8 per cent growth in their full-time staff over the next 12 months.

Activities such as the talent-search are necessary due to international competition for skilled worker groups, with countries such as the UK, Canada, India, New Zealand and Iceland all employing such tactics. The European Union is also considering similar tactics to encourage students and professionals into many countries of the EU-25.

Population growth is also delivering future consumers and workers to keep the Australian economy growing fast. Government policy of awarding tax benefits to those with children and AUD$3,000 to couples having a first child is clearly a major factor in such a boom.

The public sector has accounted for 1.2 percentage points of the 1.3 per cent growth in employment in the year to May 31st; the second-largest contributor being construction with 0.3 percentage points, followed by retail with 0.5 percentage points.

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