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Swan's false economy: ABS scrapping job vacancy data

01 July, 2008

NSW Business Chamber has expressed its dismay at the decision of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to eliminate information on national job vacancies due to Budget cuts imposed by the Federal Treasurer.

The ABS has released its last ever data on Job Vacancies (Cat no 6354.0), which it has been collecting for 25 years.

“This is a bad decision by the ABS. It is short sighted and removes a crucial tool in assessing the impact of skill shortages on the Australian economy”, said Kevin MacDonald, CEO of NSW Business Chamber.

“At a time of significant skill shortages across all sectors, Australia will lose an important measure to assess where those shortages are occurring and what trends are occurring.

MacDonald said the last ever data released by the ABS are at a record high of 184,400 including (seasonally adjusted) a record 56,500 vacancies in NSW.

“We continue to see significant vacancy rates in manufacturing, business services, health and in the retail sectors. 

“There has been a fall in job vacancies in the accommodation, cafes and restaurants sector which have fallen 50% in the last six months and this fall can be attributed to the impact of rising interest rates and petrol prices.

“Vacancies in the public sector across Australia have also increased to a record level of 19,200 which indicates the pressures state governments are under in managing the staffing of health and education sectors which have an older workforce demographic.

MacDonald said he would be writing to Treasurer Wayne Swan to express his disappointment at the decision and calling on the Treasurer to reverse it.

“We are losing a critical tool in the challenge of managing skill shortages across Australia and this decision by the Government represents a major miscalculation.

“This is very much an instance of the Treasurer being penny wise and pound foolish.

NSW Business Chamber has over 30,000 members and is affiliated with 110 chambers of commerce

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