QLD manufacturing jobs up, overall decline unimportant: economist

A study by a Melbourne
University labour economist has found that Queensland’s share of manufacturing
jobs has grown.

 

Professor Jeff Borland’s
Labour Market Snapshot #5, published this month, found that Queensland’s share
of employment in the sector was slightly over 20 per cent this year, compared
to about 10 per cent in 1984.

 

Some of the change
could be explained in terms of the difficulties suffered in the textiles and
auto sector.

 

Borland told The
Australian Financial Review
that the current job losses since the GFC
(estimated at about 100,000) are not the worst slumps in employment in
manufacturing, which employs about 950,000 in Australia.

 

Over 200,000
manufacturing jobs were lost between 1974 and 1978, and about 150,000 in the
end of the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s.

 

He also said that the
overall decline in jobs was unremarkable.

 

“…[W]e are talking
about less than 10 per cent of the economic activity in Australia, and
Australia is still a rich country despite all that,” he told The AFR.

 

“The story is not that
Australia is going to become a poor country because we don’t have
manufacturing, the story isn’t that we have just got to have a car industry
because without a car industry we can’t be a rich country – because demonstrably
that’s not right.”

 

According to the
Queensland government’s department of industry website, there are over 10,000 manufacturing businesses in that state, employing more than 187,000 people.

 

The AFR article
estimates that, on current trends, the share of jobs in Queensland could
outstrip that of NSW or Victoria in the future.