Latest statistics (from the Australian Bureau of Statistics) for the December quarter 2008 reveal that full-time employment has risen, part-time work has decreased, overall employment was up, and the participation rate has increased 0.1 percentage points to 65.1%. During December quarter 99,000 jobs went unfilled. Despite the growing economic downturn, there were still 39,000 unfilled professional jobs and 60,000 unfilled trades jobs during the December quarter. Demand for skilled labour exceeded supply by 110,000; however, this was down from a supply gap of 120,000 in the September quarter.
The latest Clarius Skills Index indicated that skilled jobs in media, marketing, medical research, hospitality and tourism, and science would be those hardest hit. The index measures labour supply and demand, where a score of 100 equals a balance between. Anything above that figure indicates a skills shortage, and anything below represents an oversupply. The index is currently at 103.1 suggesting that Australia is still suffering from a talent shortage despite the worsening economic climate. The Skills Index also noted that despite the gloom in the economy, this figure is currently still higher than a year ago.
Although overall unemployment is rising, the skills shortage is still severe in some sectors. The Skills Index for building and engineering professionals had risen 0.4 points to 104.5 during the December quarter, and the index for accountants and auditors was also up 0.2 points to 101.4. The index for tradespeople in the metal sector had also increased by 0.3 points to 107.9.