State’s job vacancies surge but industry warns on lockdown fallout
Queensland’s job vacancies surged almost 40 per cent in the past year providing a buffer to deal with the end of JobKeeper, but an employer group has warned the three-day covid lockdown was likely to have long-term economic consequences.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed there were 53,000 job vacancies in Queensland in February, a rise of almost 12 per cent in three months and a 39 per cent rise since this time last year.
At a national level the sector with the most vacancies was health care (39,000) followed by professional services (31,000). Even the battered accommodation and food services sector which covers tourism had 27,000 vacancies.
About a third of business in accommodation and food services reported vacancies, more than double the level of a year ago.
Construction had about 26.000 vacancies.
ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said there was a growth of 61,000 vacancies nationally and labour shortages were evident in some industries in lower-paid jobs.
In Queensland the vacancies are almost all in the private sector. Only 4,400 were in the public sector.
The Australian Industry Group joined with the tourism sector in questioning the need for further lockdowns saying that the test and trace method was working.
“The reopening of the Queensland is welcome Easter news for business and the community but the ramifications from the uncertainty created by the lockdown would be far-reaching,” AiG’s Queensland head Rebecca Andrews said.
“The Government needs to carefully review its decision-making processes to deal with a handful of cases that were, in the end, effectively tracked down,” Andrews said.
“The doubt and uncertainty will be a drag on the Queensland economy for many months with businesses and individuals deferring or cancelling travel to the state due to the risk of further lockdowns.
“Queensland is getting on top of its testing and tracing and like other states it should have faith and not up-end lives and livelihoods when there are alternative, targetted approaches which have proven to be effective elsewhere.”
She said the should be a risk-based approach that considered business and community considerations.
ABS data also showed a fall of 2.8 per cent in owner-occupied housing lending in February in Queensland.