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December employment figures show strength in WA

The number of jobs available in Western Australia appears to be on the rise, following positive employment data for December 2015. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), unemployment dropped 0.3 percentage points during the month – the largest decline across the country.

ABS data revealed Western Australia’s seasonally adjusted employment rate in absolute terms climbed by 8,100 people during December, which was notably higher than second-place Queensland (6,700 individuals).

WA Treasurer Mike Nahan noted that an increase in part-time workers was a significant factor in the state’s performance. However, he argued that monthly figures are volatile and urged people to look at the bigger picture.

“It is important to focus on the state’s annual average unemployment rate, which remains at 5.9 per cent – below the national average of 6.1 per cent and the second lowest of all states, behind New South Wales,” Perth Now quoted Mr Nahan as saying.

Furthermore, he emphasised the commitment the state government is placing on jobs, especially with key infrastructure projects. Large-scale initiatives, such as Perth Children’s Hospital and the WA schools public-private partnership, will generate vacancies for approximately 94,000 people.

Tourism opportunities in Western Australia

The Tourism Council WA said the ABS figures were not all positive. Between December 2014 and December 2015, the number of unemployed people in the state increased from 78,000 to over 93,000.

However, the organisation argued tourism could become a major source of jobs for those who find themselves without work. Tourism Council WA CEO Evan Hall claimed approximately 3,000 positions in the industry were created over the 12 month-period to December 2015.

This could provide significant opportunities for apprentices and trainees in Western Australia that are working towards qualifications in the hospitality and tourism sectors.

“Tourism employs more than 94,000 people in Western Australia, with the number of people employed in the industry growing by thousands each year,” said Mr Hall.

“It is important to bring in international and interstate visitors who bring in external tourism dollars and will contribute to greater growth in visitor spend and therefore local jobs.”

Mr Hall said total visitor spending in the state rose $750 million between September 2014 and September 2015. Nevertheless, he commented that more must be done to ensure Western Australia maintains its market share of international tourists. This includes effective marketing to encourage travellers to visit the state.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator

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