The Australian Labour Market

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The health of a labour market can be judged by levels of unemployment and changes in wage growth. Both of these issues come into play when The Australian Financial Review reports that the Australian labour market has tightened over the past twelve months and comments on predictions for the coming year. Changes in unemployment in Australia is a key issue in this news article. In the last twelve months, unemployment in Australia has dropped from 5.6 per cent to 5.1 per cent which is described as ‘a puzzle’ in the news article. Looking closer, there are some possible explanations for this change in statistics. Previously, unemployment in Australia increased in the time of the recent global economic downturn, although didn’t suffer as poorly as other countries according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development. However, while unemployment rose, so too did the number of people in other forms of underemployment such as part-time and casual work (OECD, 2010). According to Sappey et. al., the status of employment requires workers to only work one hour per week and so therefore many underemployed workers receive the same employed status in this data as full-time workers (Sappey et. al., 2010, p. 111). According to the OECD, under-employment increased significantly during the downturn, rather than unemployment. Unemployment has dropped in the last twelve months but that does not mean that those who have obtained work have gained full-time employment. In fact, according to the Australia labour market trends of the last twelve months, it is more than likely that those who have become an ‘employed’ statistic rather than ‘unemployed’ have not gained full-time work. This news article quotes figures fro... ... middle of paper ... ...MinimumWagesCase/default.aspx. Dwyer, M. (2010, August 18). Job market firms but wage pressure restrained. The Australian Financial Review, p. 6. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2010) Employment outlook 2010 – How does Australia compare? Retrieved August 19, 2010, from Reserve Bank of Australia (2010). Minutes of the monetary policy meeting of the board – 3 August 2010. Retrieved August 20, 2010, from Reserve Bank of Australia (2010). Measures of consumer price inflation. Retrieved August 19, 2010, from Sappey, R., Burgess, J., Lyons, M., & Buultjens, J. (2009) Industrial relations in Australia: work and workplace. Frenchs Forest: Pearson Australia.

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