Nowadays, it is almost main-stream to talk about the weak areas of the economy. Recession this… Unemployment that… That’s all we hear!
But for once, the statistics are unmistakably positive! Car sales continue to soar; hitting record highs and the latest figures show that 58,100 jobs were created in the past three months. Not bad eh?
Most would conclude that employment is rising because of strength in the mining sector, but nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, mining employment fell for the second straight quarter, losing just over 8,000 jobs. Fortunately though, there was sufficient strength elsewhere to push overall employment higher.
What is behind all this?
We can’t conclude with any certainty, but it seems the internet and online spending have quite some influence on employment. Over the past three months, a record 47,500 jobs were created in the transport, postal and warehousing sector. And it is entirely possible that online spending drove the result. More people ordering online means more delivery men!
In fact employment in the Postal and Courier Pick-up and Delivery Services sector alone lifted by 13,600 in the three months to November while jobs in Warehousing & Storage Services rose by 12,400 to record highs.
However, technology is also a big player in the economy. In the past three months the most job losses occurred in the information, media and telecommunications sector. Certainly there have been high profile job losses across newspaper, TV and radio businesses as people look to get news from online sources than older established media.
The prophets of gloom and doom suggest that the economy will struggle without a high-flying mining sector. But the fact is that the economy is constantly evolving and responding to change. One huge change in the operation of the economy is the trend for consumers and businesses to purchase goods online, requiring the goods to be stored and distributed to end purchasers.
So, what does all this mean?
Well, first of all, the Australian economy is changing. Consumers are buying goods online, encouraged by the diversity on offer across the globe, the high Australian dollar, competitive pricing and convenience. In response more people are being employed in warehouses, storage businesses, courier delivery businesses and by Australia Post.
Online spending is creating opportunities across the economy. But the shift away from mainstream media is creating job losses elsewhere. Employment continues to rise across the economy, reducing the need for the Reserve Bank to continue cutting interest rates.
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