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Unemployment set to rise in 2009

Monday, 01 December 2008
By Print 21 Online Article

Increased unemployment likely for printers as skilled vacancies continue to plummet.

According to new data from the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the skilled vacancies index in November dropped by 4.8 per cent, which is 29.1 per cent lower than it was the previous year.

The greatest drop was in NSW, falling by 7.2 per cent.

The printing industry was undoubtedly the worst affected by this drop, down by 16.6 per cent. In May this year, skilled vacancies in printing had declined 7.1 per cent.

Hagop Tchamkertenian, national manager for policy and government affairs, Printing Industries, confirmed that there will be rising levels of unemployment for printers in 2009.

"Significant employment losses could eventuate," he said.

"Our internal research shows that with economic activity slowing down, the employment projections of the industry have considerably weakened."

Occupations in administration, sales and marketing are most likely to be made redundant, Hagop said. He warned of the dangers of this as "the industry needs to market itself."

There are a number of reasons as to why the printing industry is most affected by this drop, according to Hagop. "The printing industry relies on sectors of the economy that are driven by confidence, such as marketing and advertising," he said.

"When the economy starts slowing down, marketing budgets get trimmed."

He also noted that in these conditions, people do not change jobs as infrequently as when the economy is more robust. "Printing businesses faced with declining turnover are unlikely to increase their workforce," Hagop said.

James Cryer of JDA Print Recruitment, believes that job losses are most likely to occur amongst those working on the factory floor.

"Numbers in the printing industry have stayed relatively consistent throughout the ages, however the composition has changed so there are less factory staff and more of a need for people in areas like IT, HR and OH&S," he said.

But Hagop said automation in the industry meant that factory staff were already running on minimal numbers. "Production areas are already very efficient so there is not much room to cut back there."

Though he had not noted an increase in applicants coming to his recruitment firm looking for work, Cryer did admit that, "there is a lot of nervousness around."

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