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366,000 jobs added as Australia navigates major skills shortage

·2-min read
People walking in the Sydney CBD.
The unemployment rate has falled to 4.6 per cent. (Source: Getty)

Australia added 366,000 jobs in November 2021, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The unemployment rate fell by 0.6 percentage points to 4.6 per cent in November, reversing a similar sized increase in October.

“The latest data shows the extent of recovery between early October and early November in jurisdictions coming out of Delta lockdowns,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.

“This included the period of relatively rapid recovery in the second half of October that we saw in payroll jobs data.”

Jarvis said easing lockdown restrictions in New South Wales and Victoria had a large influence on the national figures.

“Employment in the two states [increased] by 180,000 people and 141,000 people between October and November,” he said.

“Employment in those jurisdictions in November was only 52,000 people and 4,000 people below May, having fallen by 250,000 people and 145,000 people during the lockdowns.”

Participation also picked up, increasing 1.4 percentage points in November.

Unemployment fell by 69,000 people, following an increase of 81,000 in October, as people returned to work.

Skills shortage

COVID-19 has brought many challenges, but as the nation returns to ‘normal’ and the economy is able to reboot, businesses are finding it hard to keep up.

The combination of the ‘brain drain’ - where skilled workers were leaving the country to seek opportunities abroad - and then The Great Resignation have left the country facing a major worker shortage.

More than half (52 per cent) of Australia’s business leaders have said it’s more challenging to find qualified employees now than pre-COVID.

In fact, in the hospitality and tourism industry, which has typically relied heavily on migrant workers and students, employers are handing out major incentives to try to secure staff.

Job ads for the hospitality and tourism sector saw an increase of more than 76 per cent this year, according to SEEK data.

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