13 February 2009

Australian employers add 1,200 jobs over January

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The Australian job market has unexpectedly added 1,200 jobs over January, giving rise to the hope that the Australian economy would avoid the recession hitting the U.S., UK, Europe and Japan.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment increased by 1,200 to 10,742,100 over January, with full-time employment increased by 33,700 to 7,670,700 and part-time employment decreased by 32,600 to 3,071,400.

Bloomberg reports that the shift in employment trends has pushed the dollar higher against the American dollar, giving Australians hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Seventeen Bloomberg economists had predicted Australia would suffer an 18,000 drop in the number of people employed over January, showing that the economy is taking an unexpected upturn.

Adam Carr, a senior economist at ICAP Australia Ltd. in Sydney, said although the news is positive, Australians have to remain aware that it will take time to ride out the economic and employment slowdown, and not "delude ourselves that things will be okay".

"We haven’t seen jobs shedding take hold yet, and that’s fantastic news," Carr said.  "Things aren’t as bad as some of the rhetoric and press is telling us and companies are saying 'our bottom lines are okay, and we’re unwilling to give up labour'."

After months of debate about the effects of Australian immigration on the economy, Minister for Immigration and Citizenship Senator Chris Evans has yet to confirm his department's plan of action for this year's Budget release.  As it stands, Senator Evans will let the same amount of people move to Australia under the General Skilled Migration programme, which is sitting at a record 133,500 skilled visas.  The total immigration quota is 190,300 places for Australian migration visas, which is an increase of 37,500 places during the 2007-08 financial year.

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