Thursday 10 May 2012

Moving to Oz? (V)

I don't often read John Birmingham's posts at the National Times. His latest, however, is very interesting and quite timely, too.

It's interesting, among other things, because it contains links to these two articles (a recent one from the most unexpected source, Stars and Stripes newspaper, about employment possibilities with the Australian Defence Forces -ADF-; a slightly older one, from The Guardian about Greek migrants).

It's timely because this week the Gillard Government unveiled its 5000-word suicide note... err... 2012-13 Austerian budget and today the ABS released its latest labour force figures (catalogue no. 6202.0, April 2012).

The Stars article contained this passage:
"The job offers could be tempting for U.S. troops as the Afghan War winds down and the Department of Defense looks to trim billions of dollars and more than 100,000 uniformed personnel from its books.
"At a time when other Western countries have slashed spending, the prosperous Australians have been growing their military."
(See here)
Sorry, folks, not anymore. The area most affected by budget cuts was defence: AUD 5.4bn during the next 4 years. Further, faced with warnings that budget cuts of about 3% of GDP would be a drag on economic growth and make it unlikely to achieve budget surplus, Treasurer Wayne Swan "is fully prepared to make further cuts to the federal budget to ensure the Labor government delivers a surplus next financial year". (See here and here)

Considering that, according to the Stars, before the cuts the ADF has recruited some 500 personnel from the US, UK, Canada and NZ, if I were one of the 100,000 in the firing line, I wouldn't put too much hope in an Aussie placement.


But not all is bleak. The ABS data revealed good and bad news. This is how the good news was reported: "Jobless Rate in Surprise Fall". Woo hoo!

After losing ground in the last few days, both the S&P/ASX200 index and the All Ordinaries index rose 0.5%, reported this way: "Shares Buoyed by Jobs Data".

This is how the bad news was reported: "Unemployment Drops as Job Seekers Give Up". Indeed, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell, from 5.1% of the labour force in March, to 4.9% in April. But, during the same period, the labour force itself also fell (from 65.3% to 65.2%): the unemployed are giving up looking for jobs and are no longer considered unemployed... You beauty! (See here and here)


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