The end of the mining construction boom continues to cause economic pain for Western Australia but strong employment growth ‘paints a very positive future’, says the state’s treasurer.
CommSec’s quarterly State of the State’s report released on Monday shows WA again lags behind other states as annual growth rates remain below national averages in most areas.
But CommSec’s chief economist Craig James said employment growth, ‘was just off the strongest levels seen in five years while annual population growth has lifted for the past four quarters’.
Treasurer Ben Wyatt said several reports contribute to mounting economic data which shows the WA economy is moving in the right direction.
‘When you look carefully at these reports, they paint a very positive picture for the state of WA’s economy,’ he said.
WA had the strongest rate of growth in job vacancies of all states and territories in 2017.
Its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the December quarter improved from 6.6 to 5.7 per cent, compared to the national rate of 5.5 per cent.
The latest Deloitte Access Economics Business Outlook report, also released on Monday, predicts WA will see ‘better days ahead’ as the mining sector completes its transition from construction to production.
‘The West Australian economy has learnt the hard way that it takes a bunch more workers to build a mine than it does to operate it,’ the report said.
‘But with that transition almost complete, there should be better days ahead as a strong China keeps commodity prices and export earnings supported.’
The Treasurer said the report also forecast strong growth in Gross State Product, business investment and future wages growth in Western Australia over the coming years.
‘While the news is good, the job is by no means finished and we continue to work hard to deliver more jobs and fix the mess we inherited,’ Mr Wyatt said.