Dec 7, 2017

We’ve achieved a ‘flexible economy’, but at what cost?

Much of the big surge in jobs growth this year has come in the health sector. But it also appears to be the result of a flexible economy -- and while we've always been told that's good, it comes with its own problems.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Whatever flaws the Turnbull government may have, it has presided over a truly impressive achievement on jobs growth. In the 12 months to October, around 350,000 jobs were created in Australia in trend terms — over 80% of them full-time jobs. And around 55% of the 350,000 jobs have gone to women. We’ll know a bit more about where those jobs were created when the ABS releases detailed employment data in coming weeks. But data from the August quarter showed that there had been a huge — almost unbelievable — surge of over 130,000 new jobs in health and social care in the previous 12 months, with over 60,000 created in the August quarter alone.

That represents a big acceleration for health and social care, which, in 2016 and early 2017, appeared to have been dropping back from its rapid growth of recent years. And unsurprisingly, the great bulk of those additional health and social care jobs went to women. And while the rollout of the NDIS has been expected to drive jobs in this sector, around half of the new jobs — 64,000 — were in hospitals.

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3 thoughts on “We’ve achieved a ‘flexible economy’, but at what cost?

  1. shea mcduff

    Pinched, second-hand, from “The Australian”:
    “Employers have declared the nation’s apprenticeship system is in “crisis” after apprentice numbers fell by 13,000 in 12 months, and 35 per cent under the Abbott and Turnbull governments.
    Seven months after the government announced a $1.5 billion skills funds in the federal Budget, employers said the Coalition had yet to sign “even one” agreement with the states and territories to commence projects needed to increase apprentice numbers.
    Figures released today by the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research show the number of apprentices at June 30 this year was 282,000, a 4.7 per cent decline in 12 months.
    When Tony Abbott was elected in September 2013, the number of apprentices was 413,145.”

    Yep, that’s ‘flexible’.

  2. shea mcduff

    The summary ABS Labour Force (seasonally adjusted) estimates for October 2017 are [via Bill Mitchell]:
    .The official unemployment rate decreased 0.1 points to 5.4 per cent.
    .The participation rate decreased 0.1 points to 65.1 per cent.
    It still remains below its December 2010 peak (recent) of 65.8 per cent.
    .Employment increased by a minuscule 3,700 (0.03 per cent) – full-time employment increased 24,300 and part-time employment decreased 20,700.
    .The monthly labour underutilisation data shows that underemployment was estimated to be 8.2 per cent of the labour force (steady); the total labour underutilisation rate (unemployment plus underemployment) was 13.3 per cent (down from 13.6 per cent); there were 1,057.9 thousand persons underemployed and a total of 1,724 thousand workers either unemployed or underemployed.
    Bill’s observation on the effect of the drop in participation:
    “If the participation rate had not have fallen, total unemployment, at the current employment level, would have been 721.2 thousand rather than the official count of 701.5 thousand as recorded by the ABS – a difference of 19.7 thousand workers (the ‘participation effect’).”

  3. AR

    I thought that we were to be spared this serially relapsing neocon’s tripe whilst he had a break, gardening leave or whatever.

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