Manufacturing Jobs Show Increase: ABS Report

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A recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report has shown a bump in full-time manufacturing positions by 16,000 in the last twelve months, with 10,000 being filled in the previous quarter.

The Labour Account Australia, Quarterly Experimental Estimates (March 2019) report released on the 11th of June showed a decline of 20,000 jobs in the last five years – from 900,000 in March 2014 to 880,000 in March 2019.

Despite that correction, manufacturing remained the 7th highest employing industry in Australia.

The largest subsector in manufacturing is food product manufacturing, which accounts for 24% of all positions filled. Other major subsectors are fabricated metal products (15%) and machinery and equipment (10%).

Manufacturing labour hours has also increased by 1.7% over the past five years and by 2.5% in the last quarter. In March 2019, manufacturing had over 25,000 secondary positions (i.e. a person’s second job) accounting for 2.8% of all jobs in the sector.

Over the past five years, employee compensation in Australia rose 18.8% and income from self-employment increased by 21.7%. The increase in total labour income for manufacturing also rose by 1.7%, to $17,866 million – commensurate with the labour hours increase.

The median age for manufacturing is hovering around 40, with a decrease in employment in people aged 25 to 54. Three-quarters of the manufacturing labour force is male.

The main source of data the ABS draws on is the Australian Labour Account, which provides a framework for bringing together and ‘balancing’ labour market data from various  sources (including data from the Labour Force Survey, the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey, the Economic Activity Survey and the Survey of Employment and Earnings).

This news bolsters last month’s Performance Manufacturing Index released by the Ai Group. The survey revealed the manufacturing sector expanded by 2.1 points to end up with 52.7 points (scores above 50 indicate expansion.)

Filled jobs in all sectors rose 0.2% in the last quarter, and 2.8% over the year (seasonally adjusted.)

“This slowing growth in jobs echoes the weaker growth in employment that we have been observing since September 2018,” said Bruce Hockman, Chief Economist at the ABS.

The Federal Reserve of Australia cut the overall cash rate from 1.5% to 1.25% last month on the back of weakening growth in filled jobs, as well as pressures in the housing market and a willingness to address medium-term inflationary targets.

For more statistics, visit the ABS labour account page here. [https://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Latestproducts/6150.0.55.003Main%20Features1March%202019?opendocument&tabname=Summary&prodno=6150.0.55.003&issue=March%202019&num=&view=]

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