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RBA Paper Estimates Resource Industry Accounts for 10% of Jobs

Feb. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Almost one in 10 Australian jobs is tied to resource extraction and industries that service it, a central bank paper showed.

The share of total employment in the resource economy is estimated to have doubled since the mid-2000s to about 9.75 percent in the 12 months through June 30, according to the paper by Reserve Bank of Australia economists Vanessa Rayner and James Bishop released today. The extraction of resources accounted for 3.25 percent of employment, the report showed.

“The share of workers employed in the resource extraction sector has accounted for only one-quarter of the overall increase in the resource economy’s share of employment since 2004/05,” the authors said. “The remainder is due to an increase in employment in industries that service the operations of mines, such as transport of output from the mine site to ports, business services and power generation.”

Hiring demand from a mining investment bonanza helped support the nation’s employment market as the sustained strength of the Australian currency drives job cuts in industries including manufacturing and tourism. The central bank reduced its benchmark interest rate by 1.75 percentage points in the 14 months through December to 3 percent, matching a half-century low, as it seeks to spur industries outside resources where investment is predicted to crest this year.

“Once the peak in resource investment has passed and the resource boom enters its production phase, the share of labor employed in the more labor-intensive resource-related industries is likely to decline and the share employed in the less labor-intensive resource extraction sector is likely to rise further,” the paper showed.

Australian employers added part-time jobs in January and fewer people hunted for work, helping keep the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.4 percent, a government report showed Feb. 7. About 30,000 new jobs in resource-rich Queensland state offset a similar decline in the manufacturing hub of Victoria, it showed.

A separate Australian Bureau of Statistics report today showed wages rose at a faster pace in the fourth quarter, spurred by higher salaries in the mining industry.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Heath in Sydney at mheath1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephanie Phang at sphang@bloomberg.net

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