No jobs growth in Labor heartland? > Check the facts

No jobs growth in Labor heartland? > Check the facts

Who: ‘No jobs growth in Labor heartland [western Sydney]’ and ‘the region faces a “jobs deficit” of up to 500,000 places by 2051’ The Daily Telegraph 6 August.

The claim: There has been a failure to create jobs, especially private sector jobs, in the western suburbs of Sydney and that the region faces a jobs deficit. The region is said to be facing an ‘unemployment crisis’.

The facts: ABS regional labour market data go back to November 2007 and give the numbers of people actually employed in western Sydney. The table below gives the June figures ending in June 2013.

 Employed people in western Sydney regions (thousands)

Inner Western Sydney

Canterbury-Bankstown

 Fairfield-Liverpool

Outer South Western Sydney

Central Western Sydney

North Western Sydney

Total

2008

99.30

140.00

155.60

122.70

156.60

306.70

980.90

2009

89.80

139.80

157.50

122.00

160.90

309.80

979.80

2010

100.30

127.80

152.60

131.50

147.60

312.50

972.30

2011

105.30

147.20

152.20

128.00

156.10

315.20

1004.00

2012

105.30

141.50

162.10

119.30

164.20

316.20

1008.60

2013

111.00

149.10

161.50

122.50

153.80

324.60

1022.50

Change

11.7

9.1

5.9

-0.2

-2.8

17.9

41.6

Some sub-regions performed better than others but overall employment increased in western Sydney by an average of 1.2 per cent.

The Daily Telegraph’s statement that there was a ‘jobs deficit’ was based upon a government report. What they failed to mention was the report was referring to the fact that 33 per cent of workers living in Western Sydney actually work in another area.

The finding: It is not correct to say there was no jobs growth in Western Sydney.Over the period covered by ABS data employment increased  by 41, 600 jobs.

Discussion of evidence: Employment among western Sydney residents was hit by the global financial crisis but it recovered quite rapidly especially in the period late 2010 to late 2012. Over the period covered by ABS data it is incorrect to say there was no jobs growth.

The Daily Telegraph used the phrase ‘jobs deficit’ and attributed it to the government report without mentioning that it referred to the fact that 33 per cent of workers living in western Sydney actually work in another area. While it is always desirable to plan cities so as to minimise commuting time it is normal for people in the outer suburbs of major cities to work in the central business district or other centres far from their homes. That there was a ‘jobs deficit’ in western Sydney did not mean the residents were necessarily out of work.

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