Longterm Unemployment

Interns plan offers hope for ready, willing and able workers

An effective jobs and growth plan is a long-term proposition as our economy shifts away from reliance on resources. So the drop in the trend unemployment rate from 5.8 per cent to 5.7 per cent in April means little. More telling is that jobs growth is slowing, making the economic task more difficult for whichever party prevails on July 2. What’s more, it highlights the need to find better ways to reduce the social and economic cost of long-term unemployment.

For the Turnbull government, any doubt over employment prospects makes its “jobs and growth” mantra more difficult to sell. But concerns about work security and availability also show the importance of budget policies such as the coalition’s internships program for under-25s.

While the economy is still creating jobs, annual trend jobs growth has slowed from 2.6 per cent in December to 2.0 per cent in April. While that matches the budget forecast, most of the new jobs are part-time. Full-time employment has shrunk for three straight months.

An extension of the trend could eventually lift the jobless rate and job security fears could exacerbate the reluctance of households to spend in these times of flat wages and low inflation. The central bank expects employment to grow “at a somewhat slower pace” in the next year. It was concerned enough about the economic outlook on budget day to reduce the official interest rate from 2 per cent to 1.75 per cent, thereby limiting its ability to spur activity with further rate cuts when needed.

Slower economic growth and higher unemployment would add billions to the budget deficit over the next four years as more people claimed unemployment benefits and tax receipts shrunk. The budget papers forecast that the jobless rate would fall to 5.5 per cent by the June quarter of 2017. Treasury will release updated economic forecasts on Friday.

The coalition is entitled to argue that its planned business tax cuts are required to encourage job creation, although Labor says relief should not be a top priority.

Where both sides should agree is that governments have a key role in ensuring that young jobless people have the best chance of finding work. The Herald believes that the coalition’s interns plan is a positive development to equip both youth and long-term unemployed with job-ready skills and experience.

The trend jobless rate for 15-24 year olds remained 12.2 per cent in April but on the government’s preferred measure it rose from 12.0 per cent to 12.3 per cent seasonally adjusted. While well down from the recent peak of 14.5 per cent in November 2014, it is more than double the overall jobless rate. A study due next week will examine the related problems of long-term unemployment. One cause is lack of skills that employers require. About one in four unemployed have been out of work for more than 52 consecutive weeks. The long-term jobless rate is about 1.4 per cent, representing more than 170,000 people whose skills and potential are being lost personally and economically.

The coalition’s Youth Jobs PaTH – Prepare, Trial, Hire – is a vast improvement on work for the dole, which is not sufficiently tailored to employer needs, carries a stigma and was wound back slightly in the budget. To read more click here.

The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 1-2 December 2016 in Brisbane. To express your interest in the Conference CLICK HERE.

High unemployment contributing to CQ’s health woes

UnemploymentRockhampton doctor Hilary Mercer has spoken out about health issues in Central Queensland linking them to the region’s high rate of unemployment.

Dr Mercer shares his thoughts in a letter to the editor, which he has penned in response to a Morning Bulletin health report which showed a dire outlook for Rockhampton residents as compared to their Brisbane counterparts.

The Bulletin report was part of a Fair Go For Regional Australia campaign.

The “shocking CQ death rate” reported in the Bulletin needs to be put into perspective.

There are indeed increased incidences of obesity, smoking, alcoholism and suicide but readers should be made aware that this is much the same in other regional areas of the state compared with Brisbane.

There is an inference that if only we had improved health services, all would be well.

That is far from the case.

The problem is not a medical one but a social one in the form of a higher rate of unemployment.

Whether from disability, inability or sheer laziness, long term unemployment results in an increase in all the aforementioned conditions and it so happens that social recipients form a far greater percentage of the population in regional areas compared with the capital.

We could have a hospital on every street corner and make absolutely no difference to these statistics regardless of the noise made by social engineers.

Education is often touted as the answer to the problem but the truth is that every obese person knows they eat too much and every smoker and alcoholic understands the implications of their habit.

The things that will improve these statistics are to accept the unfashionable notion that the individual himself has to make life changing decisions, stronger efforts made to get people off social services and into employment (every doctor knows many people who could work but who choose not to) and perhaps the introduction of the unpopular idea that social services recipients should be given a credit card rather than cash which forbids the purchase of cigarettes, alcohol, gambling and maybe even fast foods.

The idea being that such “luxuries” should be earned rather than be available via the taxpayer.

It is ironic that on the same page of the Bulletin is a feature about the difficulty in accessing dental services.

One measure that would decrease the need for dental services would be to introduce fluoridation which Brisbane has but is forbidden by our city council because of the bleatings of the same sort of people who probably also don’t believe in childhood immunisation.

Never mind the advice of medical and dental authorities in all first world counties or that of the World Health Organisation. To read more click here.

The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 1-2 December 2016 in Brisbane. To express your interest in the Conference CLICK HERE.


Job ads stagnate but unemployment should hold steady: ANZ

imagesA widely-watched private index of job advertisements has shown demand for workers stagnating since late last year.

The ANZ job advertisements series recorded a 0.2 per cent rise in ads during March, led by a 0.4 per cent increase in online ads, offset by an 11.4 per cent slump in the now niche newspaper sector.

However, the relatively subdued March result has now dragged the more stable trend figure for job ads into the negative for the first time since October 2013.

Trend data showed job ads falling 0.2 per cent last month.

Overall, ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo said the trend has been pretty flat for several months now.

“The number of job ads has been broadly unchanged for four months now, signalling an easing in hiring intentions,” he wrote in a note on the data.

“To some extent this is unsurprising given the strong pace of jobs growth over much of 2015 and modest improvement in the unemployment rate”.

Unemployment to stay ‘within earshot of 5.75 per cent’

ANZ’s figures show that job ads are still up 10 per cent on levels seen a year ago, in seasonally adjusted terms.

Mr Fabo said a combination of global economic and financial market jitters early in 2016 and uncertainties around federal politics, such as the election timing, may have contributed to the recent caution in hiring new staff.

He added that volatility in the official Bureau of Statistics employment numbers has made the ANZ job ads measure more important as an indicator of the labour market.

“While the official figures show a modest fall in (measured) employment over the three months to February, this followed the fastest jobs growth over a three-month period since 2006,” Mr Fabo noted.

“Hiring is taking a breather, but we expect jobs growth to maintain enough momentum over the coming six months to keep the unemployment rate within earshot of 5.75 per cent.” To read more click here.

The Australian Long-Term Unemployment Conference will be held on the 1-2 December 2016 in Brisbane. To express your interest in the Conference CLICK HERE.


Premier heads north to discuss employment

ltu resoourcesMembers of the Premier’s job committee are meeting in Mackay this morning to discuss employment in Queensland to discuss the opportunity to develop a plan in the lead up to the State budget to minimise job losses in the resources sector moving forward.

More than 22,000 jobs have been lost in the resources sector in Queensland in the last two years. Jobs have mostly been lost in the Mackay region and this has an impact of SE Queensland and affects employment in Brisbane for people working in resource sector offices.

To find out more about the affects of this, in an ABC radio interview, Steve spoke to Chief Executive of the Queensland Resources Council Michael Roche and Mayor of Mackay Deirdre Comerford.

To listen to the ABC news interview CLICK HERE.