Nov 17, 2011

Mining industry surges, but we’re becoming a service economy

While the resources boom creates thousands of mining jobs, it is the services industries that are driving the biggest change in our workforce.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Australia’s is more than ever a service-based workforce despite the surging resources sector, a new analysis of changes to the Australian workforce shows.

A look at the ABS’s trend employment data shows that since the start of 2007, the mining sector has significantly increased its share of the workforce, from just 1.3% in February 2007 — the peak of “Mining Boom Mark 1” — to 2% now. The industry shed jobs in 2009, but not quickly enough to reduce its overall share of the workforce. And in the past 12 months, it has surged. Even so, it still employs only 220,000 people — far smaller than most other industries and still significantly below agriculture. The latter sector held on to its workers through the economic slowdown but since late 2010 has shed workers rapidly. It is now down to 2.8% of the workforce, from 3.4% at the start of 2007.

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One thought on “Mining industry surges, but we’re becoming a service economy

  1. Coaltopia

    Kevin Rudd said “I never want to be the Prime Minister of a country that doesn’t make anything anymore” and he apparently got his wish. Of course, judging by the Solyndra bankruptcy in the US, it’s hard to compete with “dumping”.

    It seems with the amount of planned mining investment, the Dutch Disease of Australia will only grow more terminal while Twiggy and friends tries to work out more ways to automate their mining operations and thus cut the already minor employment of the mining sector that dominates the economy to our peril (got any stats on tourism Bernard?).

    What, as always, will happen when the resources run out?

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