Australia Still in Good Shape

November 15th, 2013

Economic opportunities are on the rise, with the proportion of Australians currently employed in a skilled occupation or with a Certificate III or above growing from 64 percent in 2007 to 70 percent today. ; ; The jobs indicator improved because of a decline in the unemployment rate from 6.4 percent to 5.2 percent over the last decade, with the prosperity measure rising due to advances in net savings and real wealth measures per capita. ;

Living standards were up based on disposable income per capita, which grew from $40,600 per person a decade ago to $51,800 based on the current dollar value. ; International economic management relative to gross domestic product (GDP) also improved due to a rise in the international trade of goods and services, which increased from 41 percent to 43 over the decade. ; The only negative was for economic resilience, based largely on a decline in multifactor productivity over the last ten years.

"The latest release of MAP shows us that overall, Australia is in pretty good shape with more progress or little movement, than regress, which is a great result," said ABS director Fiona Dowsley, adding "Progress was found in the areas of health, learning and knowledge, jobs, living standards and participation. We have only regressed in the areas of our economy's resilience and sustaining the environment."

In other good news for the economy, consumer confidence is up according to the Westpac Melbourne Institute Index of Consumer Sentiment. ; Consumer sentiment increased by 1.9 percent in November compared with October, rising from 108.3 points to 110.3 points. ; However, confidence among renters did decline, with the survey also reporting growing concerns around job security. ; Even though the unemployment rate held at 5.7 percent in October, according to Westpac chief economist Bill Evans, "Over the four months to October, the economy actually lost 42,000 full-time jobs."

While there are ongoing concerns related to job security and economic resilience, the overall report card for the Australian economy is positive. ; According to the MAP report, the average Australian is happy with the current level of economic and social progress, despite question marks surrounding many aspects of environmental management and governance.