1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), May 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/03/2006   
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Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5)

The following feature articles appear in detail in the Western Australian Statistical Indicators (ABS cat. no. 1367.5) and are available free on the web:

Skills Shortages in WA under the spotlight

With the growing concern over the state's skills shortage, the ABS has released a two part special analysis of the matter in the December 2005 and March 2006 editions of Western Australian Statistical Indicators (WASI).

Part one in the December 2005 WASI lists indicators of skills shortage in the state showing:

    The skilled vacancy index for Western Australia rose by 88.0% over the last three years, compared to a fall of 3.5% in the Australian index.
    Western Australia's unemployment rate has dropped since July 2001 to its lowest level on record in November 2005 (3.9%), providing evidence of an economy that has continued to exhaust its available supply of labour, including skilled labour.
    Recent wages growth in Western Australia has been strong and has outpaced the growth in prices generally.
Source: Department of Employment and Workplace Relations

Part two of the analysis in the March 2006 WASI showed that the skills shortage in Western Australia was a significant contributor to the fall in the state's economic growth from 8% in 2003-04, to 3% in 2004-05 at the height of the shortage.

The article explains there are three key reasons for the skills shortage:

    There were less skilled workers available because of the rapid expansion of the state's resources sector.
    With Western Australia's exports to China doubling over the past three years, employment in the mining industry rose by close to a third (9,942 people or 31%) over the period.
    In conjunction with resources sector growth, strong property market activity also triggered the demand for skilled workers in the industries of property and business services and construction.
    Fewer skilled workers were available because of reduced participation in education and training (course enrolments fell by 8,900 people from May 2002 to May 2005).

Also included in the March 2006 issue of WASI is a feature article on recent expenditure patterns of Western Australian households. WASI also contains a range of other information on the state's economy and social conditions and is available free of charge from the ABS web site www.abs.gov.au

For further information contact Phil Smythe (08) 9360 5224 or email: phil.smythe@abs.gov.au