[SYDNEY] Job losses in manufacturing have dominated Australian headlines – 350 at BP, 180 at Philip Morris, 300 at Boeing in the past month alone – but data proven to herald increased hiring tell a much cheerier tale.
In a country obsessed with real estate, a housing boom has given people confidence to spend more freely – and that may be enough to keep a lid on unemployment in the year ahead. “Overall, our range of forward-looking indicators of economy-wide jobs growth unanimously point to improved hiring intentions and a turning point in the labour market,” said Scott Haslem, chief economist at UBS.
Hopes are fixed in particular on retail and construction, where a revival in consumer spending, an invasion of foreign retailers and a surge in home building all bode well for a sizable pick-up in employment.
If past patterns on measures such as job advertisements, vacancies and a range of business surveys hold true, Mr Haslem estimates that retail, hospitality and wholesale combined with construction could generate around 140,000 jobs in the coming year.