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Published 16 October 2012 12:03, Updated 17 October 2012 05:52
The steady unemployment rate received a rude jolt in September when it jumped 0.3 percentage points from the previous month to 5.4 per cent – the highest in 2½ years. The number of jobless increased by 38,800 to 662,700.
After Tasmania, which had an unemployment rate of 7.3 per cent in September (up 0.5 points from the previous month), Queensland had the highest jobless rate of 6.3 per cent, an increase of 0.3 points.
Although Labor has portrayed the result as a consequence of the 14,000 public service job cuts announced by Premier Campbell Newman, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ) says this is unlikely “given that the government’s redundancy program is only in its early stages”.
CCIQ is a strong supporter of the Newman government, which was elected in a landslide in March, but in a statement concedes that “it is becoming increasingly apparent that Queensland, despite being in the midst of a resources boom, is not immune to softening economic conditions”.
A quarterly report on employment trends by recruitment firm Hudson says employment prospects have deteriorated in Queensland, with just 24.4 per cent of the state’s employers planning to increase headcount, compared with 27.7 per cent in the previous quarter. The most bullish state remains Western Australia, according to Hudson, with 35.9 per cent of employers intending to take on new staff in the next quarter. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says Western Australia’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4 per cent.
NSW is the second most optimistic state: 26.3 per cent of employers plan to increase staff. Victorian employers are the least likely to hire, with only 20.4 per cent planning to take on new employees. The two most populous states had unemployment rates of 5.2 per cent and 5.6 per cent respectively in September.
For anyone concerned about their job prospects, a law degree will help. Hudson says litigation lawyers are in demand in Western Australia and Victoria and property and construction lawyers in NSW. Lawyers specialising in mergers and acquisitions, employment and construction are sought after in Queensland.