Employment data paints grim picture for miners, contractors

The figures showed the number of unemployed people rose by 47,100 to just over 590,000, while the number of people in employment also increased to more than 10.8 million.However, the number of full-time positions dropped by 53,800 while part time employment increased by 55,600.Meanwhile, Australian job website Seek released its Seek Employment Index comparing labour market supply and demand, based on the ratio of job advertisements to the number of applications received. Seasonally adjusted, the index fell 8.5% in February to its lowest level since the index began in 2005.The result marks the 12th consecutive drop and is 56.1% lower than in February 2008.Despite Western Australia and Queensland being hit hard by job losses in the mining industry, New South Wales saw the biggest drop, with the index falling by 8.9%.Queensland dropped by 8.3% and WA fell by 7.6%.The number of job advertisements placed with Seek also fell 6% for the month of February and 38.6% over the past 12 months.However, Professor Peter Sheehan from Victoria University’s Centre for Strategic Economic Studies said the number of job advertisements can indicate growth in jobs rather than overall employment.Sheehan also pointed out that job turnover is lower in economic downturns.At least 10,000 miners have lost their jobs since the beginning of 2009, with a recent Australian Mines and Metals Association survey indicating there are more cuts ahead.While many mining and exploration companies are reducing their boards and administrative staff, the latest miner to slash skilled positions is BHP Billiton with 85 jobs cut from its Olympic Dam operations last week.

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