Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 5.3 percent in October, up 0.4 percentage point from the beginning of this year. The underemployment rate also climbed to 8.5 percent.
Australia is one of the most popular immigration destinations for Hongkongers. But those planning to live down under better think twice because it’s getting increasingly difficult to find a job there.
The total number of jobs in the country fell by 19,000 in October, compared with market expectations of an increase of 15,000. It’s the first decline in nearly two years.
Although the economy is benefiting from the surging prices of gold and iron ore, which are expected to lift the country’s natural resources exports to a new high this year, leading mining companies like BHP Billiton and Newcrest Mining are actually shedding jobs as a result of automation.
The trickle-down effect from the mining boom will thus be very limited.
Meanwhile, retail sales dropped 0.2 percent in the 12 months to September from a year ago, something not seen since the 2008 global financial crisis.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has already taken swift action and cut interest rates thrice this year to a record low of 0.75 percent.
The Australian government has also rolled out fiscal measures to boost the economy, including a A$158 billion (US$107.53 billion) tax cut plan it unveiled in July.
But so far, these measures don’t seem to be working.
Unless one has enough assets to support themselves without having a regular job, or has very much sought-after skills, whoever wants to emigrate to Australia must be prepared to have a tough time in finding a job.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 19
Translation by Julie Zhu
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