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Job vacancies soar as booming economy poses problems


Job vacancies in Queensland and nationally have soared to record levels as the closed borders prevented employers looking for staff overseas.

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A swag of data released on Thursday showed clear signs of the strength in the Australian economy, but also posed some serious issues for the Federal Government.

Among the data was CoreLogic’s Australian dwelling values series. It showed that while the housing boom had created significant wealth, the best days may be over.

“Despite another month of strong gains, there are signs that some heat is coming out of the market,” CoreLogic said.

“The monthly change in Australian home values of 1.9 per cent sits well above the decade average (which is 0.4 per cent). However, this month’s growth rate is down 30 basis points from May 2021, and 90 basis points from a recent peak in March 2021.”

But elsewhere in the economy, jobs and exports were booming.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data, there were 362,000 job vacancies in Australia in May, a record.

There was also a record 67,000 vacancies in Queensland during May, surpassing the previous highest of 53,000 in February.

The tourism sector has been impacted, but ANZ believes that fewer than half the jobs lost in the pandemic have returned.

The increases in job vacancies since February 2020 were in Arts and recreation services (170 per cent), accommodation and food services (159 per cent), and rental, hiring and real estate services (144 per cent). All of these sectors are either contained within the tourism sector or closely aligned to it.

The data showed there were about 30,000 vacancies in construction, 34,000 in retail trade, 38,000 in accommodation and food services, 35,000 in administration, 47,000 in health care and 31,000 in professional, scientific and technical.

The ABS said the job vacancy data showed that 22 per cent of businesses reported at least one vacancy, double the level before the pandemic hit.

“There has been a steady increase in the proportion of businesses reporting at least one vacancy, after it fell to 7 per cent in May 2020, early in the pandemic. 

“By August it was already higher than the start of the pandemic (12 per cent), rising to 15 per cent in November, 18 per cent in February and 22 per cent in May 2021”, Mr Jarvis said.

It came as Australia’s trade surplus rose to a near record $9.7 billion in May with exports up 6 per cent.

The export strength was on the back of rises in commodity and rural exports.

ANZ said it expected rural goods to continue their strong performance over the coming months as good growing conditions and favourable international factors provide upward pressure on export prices and volumes

CoreLogic said national home values rose 1.9 per cent in June, taking annual growth to 13.5 per cent for the financial year. In Brisbane, the increase was marginally lower at 13.2 per cent.

CoreLogic head of research Eliza Owen said it was the highest annual rate of growth seen across the Australian residential property market since April 2004.

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