ACCC to run out of money; Construction sector expands for first time in three years; Unemployment rises in October: Midday Roundup

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has said on ABC Radio this morning the competition watchdog will run out of money by April.

Hockey said the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission had been running at an operational loss for the past four years.

“I’ve not only been told that the ACCC has been running operational losses for the last four years, I’ve been advised that this financial year – because the previous government didn’t give it any money – the ACCC will run out of money in April,” he says.

“In a meeting with the ACCC they tell me… they are under-funded for the next four years by $100 million.”

Construction sector expands for first time in three years

Activity in the construction sector is expanding for the first time in more than three years, according to the latest index.

The Australian Industry Group/Housing Industry Association Australian Performance of Construction Index lifted 6.8 points to 54.4 in October, passing the critical 50 point mark which indicates contraction or expansion.

The growth was driven by the residential construction sub-sectors, however all the sectors were back in the black.

The apartments sub-sector recorded the strongest growth, up 8.5 points to 66.2. Housing also lifted 3.8 points to 65.3.

Ai Group director of public policy Peter Burn said in a statement the lift came after a “gradual easing in contractionary conditions over the past six months”.

Burn said it’s a “very welcome indication that we could be on the cusp of the long-awaited recovery in the construction sector.”

Unemployment rises in October

Australia’s unemployment is edging closer to the predicted 6%, rising 0.1 percentage points to 5.7% in October.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics figures published this morning showed on a seasonally adjusted basis, the number of people unemployed increased by 9,100 people to 709,300 in October.

Despite the overall rate of unemployment increasing with a fall in the number of full-time jobs, there was a rise in the number of part-time jobs – up by 28,900 to 3,544,500.

Shares fall on open

Aussie shares have opened down, despite gains on international markets overnight, buoyed by positive sentiment from the German and British industrial sectors.

The S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was down 12.8 points to 5421 at 12:02 AEDT. Overnight the Dow Jones increased 128.66 points, up 0.82% to 15,746.88.

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