Mining construction jobs to slow down in Austrlia, operation jobs could pick up

December 19, 2013

A report from the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency contends that while there will be a 90 percent drop off in resources construction jobs in the next four to five years that there is reason to hope mine operations and residential building jobs will pick up the slack.

The report's author, Keith Spence said there will be tens of thousands of mining construction workers laid off over the next four or five years.
"We're at about the peak of the construction workforce at around about 83,000 workers, and by around 2018 that could be as low as 7,700," he observed.

However, the report also notes a, “We've seen steady growth in the mining operations sector, I think over the four-year period something in the order of 7.4 percent growth," Spence said.

Westpac's chief economist, Bill Evans, says he is pleasantly surprised by how many jobs are going to be added to run the mining, oil and gas operations currently being built.

"I was encouraged, actually, by the estimated increase in operations of 40,000," he explained.

"We've always been aware of this big downturn in construction jobs as these big projects are completed, but I didn't expect that the operational lift of 40,000 was going to be anything like as high as that."

However, that still leaves a forecast surplus of 35,000 workers, and Evans warns they will be entering a very weak jobs market, especially for male workers looking for full-time positions.

"The dominant trend has been the fall in full-time jobs over the last 12 months, where jobs growth has been 0.8 percent full-time jobs growth has been negative, and we've seen a 3.5 per cent jump in part-time jobs," he added.

Australia’s ABC Online reported that BIS Shrapnel's senior manager of infrastructure and mining, Adrian Hart, is optimistic.

He is expecting a much smaller fall in mining construction than the 90 percent slump forecast in the report.

"It'll probably be reasonable to assume that you might be seeing a 40 to 50 percent decline in mining-related construction over that period of time," he estimated.

"One thing that you've got to really consider is that there's also a lot of smaller projects that may not have been considered in this report, and also a lot of sustaining capital works."


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