3 charts that show what's happening in Australia's labour market

Photo: iStock

A massive 321,000 Australians found employment in the 12 months to August, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

To Michel Workman, senior economist at the Commonwealth Bank, the result was a “remarkable achievement”, telling him that the Australian economy is performing “fairly well” in the middle of 2017.

In order to demonstrate just how impressive the lift in employment has been over the past year, he’s produced a series of excellent charts to show where the jobs have been created, by sector, state, and full or part-time roles.

They really present an interesting snapshot on the current state of the labour market, especially the increased influence of Australia’s mammoth services sector.

Here are three of his charts, along with a quick synopsis of what each reveals.

Which sectors added workers, and which didn’t

Source: Commonwealth Bank

“The big services sectors, like health, construction, education, retail, accommodation and transport added nearly 400,000 new jobs over the past year,” says Workman.

“In net terms, 416,000 new jobs were added across the majority of service sectors, offset by the loss of 142,000 jobs from professional services, finance and administration.”

Where the jobs were created

Source: Commonwealth Bank

“The standout states, in terms of growth and new jobs, are Victoria and New South Wales,” says Workman.

“They have benefitted from the strong rise in residential property prices driving record residential construction. Firm population growth has lifted demand for housing generally and household services.”

Workman notes that Victoria and New South Wales added about 180,000, or 60%, of all full-time jobs nationally over the past year.

The largest employment sectors in the economy

Source: Commonwealth Bank

“The health sector, which covers hospitals, aged care and all related health providers, is set to become the largest sector over the next few years, reaching about 15% of the workforce,” says Workman, adding that this will be assisted by the roll-out the National Disability and Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Reflecting booming residential construction and tourism growth, employment in both those sectors has risen quickly over the past year.

On the other hand, employment in retail has fallen as a percentage of the total Australian workforce.

“The relative decline of retail reflects, amongst other issues, the advent of online purchases by consumers and the pursuit of technology changes by the big employers, like supermarkets,” Workman says.

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