An article published in The Conversation
Released today, the ABS Labour Force data suggests that employment continues to languish nationwide. In Tasmania, around 5000 full time jobs were lost in the past year, partially offset by increases in part time employment so that total employment fell by around 2000 in the twelve months since December 2011. However, over the same period total employment for males increased slightly while for females it decreased. This is evident in the unemployment rates where the male rate remained steady at 6.9 and the female rate increased from 5.8 to 7.1, resulting in an unemployment rate of 7.0 in trend terms for the state (compared with a national rate of 5.4) and the participation rate decreased slightly to 60.3 (65.1 nationally).
In finding a solution to the employment challenge, there is little to gain from increasing investment in education and training given that it is likely that many of those actively seeking work already have qualifications, skills and experience. In addition, many recent graduates are likely to be joining the employment queue.
The most effective means for increasing employment opportunities will be to attract investment to the state and stimulate demand for workers. While there will be those touting the silver lining of the recent bush fires and the stimulus involved in rebuilding vital communities, this will provide short term relief only, The state needs to continue its investment in creating a competitive business environment to leverage our natural competitive and comparative advantages. This includes investment in infrastructure, particularly freight logistics as well as regulatory reform in terms of planning and the labour market.