The number of SEEK job ads through November are up 8.6 per cent on their October level and now sit 1 per cent higher than a year ago. It is the first time job ads are above their pre-virus levels.

The improvement is being driven by Victoria where ads are up 20.2 per cent in November, although over the year they are still down by 6.3 per cent.

In NSW, ads rose by 6.1 per cent last month to be 6.7 per cent down on a year ago.

Across the Northern Territory, South Australia and WA, ads are more than 17 per cent up on November 2019 while in Queensland they are 9.2 per cent better. The worst performed jurisdiction is the ACT where they are down by 8.9 per cent.

SEEK Australia managing director Kendra Banks said ads were growing sharply in the hospitality, trades and healthcare sectors as the economy re-opened.

“After a challenging 2020 for hirers and job seekers, this is a more positive note in which to end the year,” she said.

“We have some confidence the easing of restrictions nationally, together with the reopening of businesses and industries, is driving a return towards pre-COVID levels.”

In October, Mr Frydenberg forecast a record budget deficit of $213.7 billion for this financial year followed by a $112 billion shortfall in 2021-22 during which the next federal election is due.

The Treasurer is expected to confirm a drop in the forecast deficit, largely on the back of surging iron ore prices which have averaged $US132 a tonne over the past month. The budget was based upon a forecast price of $US55 a tonne.

Mr Frydenberg will reveal on Thursday the assumed fall in the iron ore price will be pushed back by three months in the budget’s forecasts. Treasury estimates that a sustained $10 rise in iron ore prices is worth $4.4 billion in nominal GDP and $300 million in extra company tax receipts.

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He said ahead of the update that the government was taking a prudent approach to forecasting the price of iron ore which has been pushed up by strong demand out of China and supply troubles out of Brazil.

“It is unclear how long Chinese stimulus will persist and when normal production levels will resume in Brazil, which has contributed to iron ore price increases over recent months,” he said.

“In the face of a once in a century health and economic shock, Australia remains among one of the best performing developed nations in the world supported by resilient economy and world leading resources sector.”

While jobs growth and iron ore prices will help boost the budget bottom line, Mr Frydenberg is expected to confirm ongoing record low wages growth for workers and subdued business investment.

Gross government debt, at more than $800 billion, is forecast to grow to at least $1.3 trillion early next decade.

But the interest bill on that debt is likely to be lower, with the government selling debt with a negative interest rate for the first time on record last week.

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