ABS shows jobs and earnings ride COVID turbulence

Employment and wages have shown promising signs in the mining industry, with a return to record total full-time earnings, according to an Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report for May 2021.

Across every industry in Australia, average weekly ordinary time earnings for full-time adults rose 1.4 per cent to $1737, while the mining industry rose to $2674.

However, total full-time earnings rose even further to a record $2743.50 for the mining industry – beating May 2020’s record by $10.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane was pleased to see the SEEK employment data reported 1346 resources jobs advertised in his state, with 70 per cent paying over $100,000 per year.

“As these latest job ad figures show, in most cases resources companies and our supply chain partners are offering highly-paid jobs and a secure future, which is especially important because of the impact of COVID-19 on other parts of the economy,” Macfarlane said.

“I strongly encourage people, particularly young people, to consider a job in resources because they’re usually well paid, offer a safe and professional career path, and include first-class education and training opportunities.”

In Western Australia, the ABS stats showed the state employed 6500 more people in July, slowing the unemployment rate to 4.6 per cent – the lowest since December 2013.

However, nationwide SEEK saw a 4.1 per cent decline in job ad volumes for July –a likely result of lockdowns affecting the eastern states.

SEEK Australia and New Zealand managing director Kendra Banks said lockdowns were felt hardest by New South Wales.

“The restrictions in Greater Sydney, which were in place for the entire month and unfortunately remain ongoing, led to month-on-month job ad volumes declining by 14.2 per cent for the whole state,” Banks said.

“New South Wales employs the largest cohort of people in Australia and job ad growth or decline in the state will often be reflected in the national figures.”

Labour shortages continue to hamper operations across Western Australia, after Albemarle was the latest in a long line of companies to fall victim to the crisis.

The chemical refiner was forced to delay the second stage of its Kemerton lithium processing plant in Western Australia until early 2022 after labour shortages halted progress.

In the wake of the ABS statistics, WA premier Mark McGowan said his focus was on defeating COVID-19 before anything else.

“My priority is to protect the health of Western Australians and create WA jobs,” McGowan said.

“My government’s strong management of COVID-19 has meant WA’s economic recovery continues to outperform many other jurisdictions in the country and around the world.”

 

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