In yesterday's release of December 2012 unemployment figures the Australian bureau of statistics revealed national unemployment has risen to 5.4% up from 5.3% in the previous month.
?Although this level of human resource underutliisation would be the envy of most countries (the United States recorded unemployment of 7.8% in December) it should be noted that Australia's lowest ever-recorded unemployment rate (4.0%) occurred in the very recent past in March 2008.
?The key question remains, can China's demand for minerals continue at the current pace and does Australia's reliance on this industry create an economic Achilles heel that it can little afford?
?Speculation also continues unabated about a so-called 'two speed economy' where those employed in the mining industry enjoy record salaries while others struggle. The tension created also appears to have geographical boundaries with the resources rich regions of Western Australia and the Northern Territory recording unemployment rates of only 4.1% and 3.8% respectively. Meanwhile the most populous states of New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland recorded 5.1%, 5.5% and 6.0% respectively. 'Following the jobs' has resulted in a continuous net migration of skilled personnel from Australia's largest cities of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to the west and north, although whether this continues remains to be seen.
The most stable sectors for employment outside of mining continue to be both government and professional services. Accounting Jobs in Australia remain particularly buoyant along with those in the legal profession and state governments in particular are recruiting actively in the healthcare sector.
Almost defying this trend is data from InsideTrak's recent research that reveals 43% of Australian's are either actively or passively seeking a new job. This would indicate that employees themselves remain somewhat confident about economic stability even in light indicators to the contrary. Alternatively we could be seeing the release of a build up in 'GFC inertia' that saw many workers staying within unsatisfactory employment despite a willingness to move.?
Either way the Australian economy remains one to watch along with it's employment stability.
Michael Larsen is the CEO and founder of InsideTrak, an Australian based job search engine specialising in jobs in Sydney.