1304.5 - Stats Talk WA (Newsletter), Dec 2006  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2006   
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WA Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5)

The December quarter edition of Western Australian Statistical Indicators (WASI) contains three feature articles examining various aspects of WA.
'Pathways and Related Outcomes in Western Australia' looks at a range of education indicators and their interrelationship with the labour market. Participation in full-time education by those aged 15–19 and 20–24 years has generally increased in Western Australia over the past 20 years, but for now at least may have peaked. The participation of 15–19 year olds was 48% in August 1986, reached as high as 67% in August 2003, and was 61% in August 2006
For 20–24 year olds, participation increased from 7% to 27% between August 1986 and August 2003 and was 24% in August 2006. The decline in participation since 2003, coincides with a period in which the State's economy has been booming and there have been increased labour market opportunities for young people.

'Drivers of Perth's Rising Prices' looks at the reasons why the consumer price index for Perth has risen at a higher rate in recent times than the indices for other state and territory capital cities. Over the past two years, Perth's Consumer Price Index (CPI) has grown by 9.1%, much faster than in Melbourne (6.6%), Sydney (6.8%), Brisbane (7.3%) and the 7.1% growth recorded nationally. The stronger CPI growth in Perth has mainly been the result of escalating housing costs and the lag in Perth's housing cycle behind the 2002–03 boom in the eastern states. After housing costs, Perth's CPI growth was largely driven by price shocks on fruit and fuel brought about by adverse weather conditions interstate and abroad, and additionally in the case of fuel, the strong demand from China and India. Strong growth in the state's resources and construction industries has flowed through to other parts of the economy (including households), resulting in rising employment and incomes in the state, which have helped fuel the demand for goods and services in Western Australia.

'International Trade in Western Australia: 2003-04 to 2005-06' examines the changing levels and composition of imports and exports into and out of Western Australia over the past three years. Western Australia's export trade has benefited greatly from the continued expansion of the Chinese economy, as well as the recovery in Japan. Increased exports to both these countries have driven most of the state's exports growth in recent years, while the United Kingdom and some Asian countries have re-emerged as principal export markets. Strong demand from China has seen Western Australia's raw materials exports grow substantially, particularly for iron ore and nickel. Western Australia's other major export commodities, wheat and wool, have been much more variable due to the droughts in 2002-03 and 2005-06. On the other side of the ledger, Western Australia's import have also increased solidly in recent years. Import growth has been mainly driven by the commodities of gold, petroleum, motor vehicles and machinery and equipment, predominantly from Singapore, Japan and the United States. Underpinning import growth has been strong domestic demand and higher terms of trade.

These articles plus a selection of economic and social overviews are contained in Western Australian Statistical Indicators (cat. no. 1367.5) which is due for release on 10 January 2007, and can be accessed at www.abs.gov.au

For further information about this publication please contact Phil Smythe ( 9360 5224 or email: phil.smythe@abs.gov.au