Blog

Can unemployment figures be misleading?

Can unemployment figures be misleading?

Australian unemployment levels have risen again for
the second month in a row. The baffling thing is that when we breakdown the figures the largest rises are in Queensland (0.9%) and Western Australia (0.4%), these are the two mining resource states that are supposedly causing all the talk about a two speed economy, so… these figures would suggest that the opposite is true and the Mining resource sector is actually weak where as the other sectors are stronger?

My experience with dealing with businesses over the past few months is that these two states and definitely the mining resource sector is very buoyant and looking for employee’s, and by the way, I really don’t like the term two speed economy as I feel it’s a bit misleading. Having said that though, I do recognise there is definitely a great divide between some industry sectors. As we know the resource/mining sector and related industries are going well however conversely retail, tourism and construction are struggling, so what I would say is we definitely have a case of the “haves” and the “have nots” at the moment in Australia and the gap just seems to be getting wider with resource industry employees earning high incomes and other industries such as residential building companies just not being able to compete with the money on offer.

The ABS tells us the average hours’ being worked has also risen from 34.7 to 35.6 which could indicates that rather than bring on new staff current employees are just being required to work more hours to fill the gaps.

All in all, I think as usual statistics can be misleading at times, and I personally think that the accuracy of unemployment figures is always in question with a lot of data coming from Centrelink, (Australian Welfare office) and it is well known fact that most people would rather have a prostate examination than turn up at Centerlink’s office “cap in hand”.

Phil