Western Australia’s job vacancies are at their highest level in five years – a sign that the State’s economic future is looking brighter.

WA saw a 14.1 per cent year-on-year increase in job ads, the second highest behind Tasmania at 16.7 per cent.

To put this into perspective, Tasmania’s job ads are off a low base, increasing by 600 compared to WA’s 3,500 since last quarter, highlighting WA’s strong growth as a proportion of our population.

WA’s jobs boost is being spurred on by the mining, resources and energy sector, reflecting an increased demand for skilled workers, with SEEK job ads across the country up 29 per cent over the year to August.

A major challenge for businesses now, particularly those in regional areas such as the Pilbara, is attracting the right people with the right skills to match those job vacancies.

This growth in confidence in the mining sector is supported by our latest WA Super–CCI Business Confidence Survey which revealed that every business in the mining sector surveyed is expecting stronger economic conditions for the year ahead.

Forty per cent of miners identified that they expect to increase their capital expenditure in the next quarter but over half (56%) expect labour costs to rise.

CCI forecasts that business investment will return to growth after years of contraction this year. As business investment continues to pick up and steady jobs growth returns to WA, we will see the entire economy start to recover.

Despite this uptick, WA’s underemployment and youth unemployment remain a serious concern, with 143,000 underemployed people wanting to work more hours and 32,100 unemployed young people looking for work right now.

One way the State Government can act now to help these job seekers is to review their decision to reduce extended retail trading hours over Christmas by 30 per cent this year.

Forcing businesses to shut their doors, which reduces the number of hours available for their staff to work, only exacerbates the State’s underemployment problem.