Economy

Job seekers facing stiff competition, shares creep higher, oil demand falls: Economy roundup

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The bad news keeps coming for job seekers. Just days after data showed job advertisements have fallen for a seventh consecutive month, the SEEK Employment Index has fallen by a seasonally adjusted 4.6%

The bad news keeps coming for job seekers. Just days after data showed job advertisements have fallen for a seventh consecutive month, the SEEK Employment Index has fallen by a seasonally adjusted 4.6%.

The index, which measures the ratio of new jobs to job applications, indicates an increased level of competition for job seekers. While new job advertisements fell, the number of job applications for those jobs rose 3.3%.

SEEK employment managing director Joe Powell says those seeking employment need to maintain a competitive edge.

“During the Christmas break, it may be worth thinking about your options and the potential to develop yourself through further education or on-the-job-training,” says Powell.

“Alternatively, if you’re looking for a career change, you could start thinking strategically about transferring your skills to those areas in most demand.”

Sharemarket rally, another capital raising

Meanwhile, the Australian sharemarket opened 1.2% down after Wall Street lost more than 2% in overnight trade. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 242.85 points or 2.72% in a choppy night of trade.

But the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index has since rallied and was up 19.5 points or 0.54% to 3623.8 at noon AEDT.

The dollar remains at yesterday’s $US65 cents.

BHP rose 2.5% to $29.15 and fellow iron ore miner Fortescue Holdings leapt 9.4%.

But the banks didn’t fare as well, with Westpac falling 7.9% to $16.47 and Commonwealth Bank shares dropping 2.3% to $29.31.

Commonwealth will follow Westpac’s lead in raising $750 million in capital though a share placement. A share purchase plan next year should add another $500 million to the banks coffers.

First oil demand contraction in two decades

In more evidence of the looming global recession, the US Government says global oil demand will contract for the first time in over 25 years, and lower petrol prices will result.

A US energy information administration report suggests global oil demand is predicted to fall by 50,000 barrels a day in 2008 and 450,000 barrels per day next year.

“The current global economic slowdown is now projected to be more severe and longer… leading to further reductions of global energy demand and additional declines in crude oil and other energy prices,” the administration says.

The report sent oil down 4% to $US42 a barrel yesterday – over $US100 cheaper than during peak prices in July.

 

 

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