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.