Food retailing creates 32,000 new jobs

Posted by Isobel Drake on 20th March 2009

Lower interest rates and the first economic stimulus package have helped shore up jobs in the retail industry, according to an analysis of new ABS jobs data, the Australian National Retailers Association said today.

ANRA, which represents a number of Australia’s largest retail organisations including supermarket chains Coles, Woolworths and Franklins, reported that growth in the number of retail job losses had begun to subside.

“The ABS Labour Force figures for the February quarter show that the slide in retail job losses in 2008 has halted, with a welcome if fragile recovery in jobs over the last three months,” ANRA CEO, Margy Osmond, said. “The retail sector shed 63,500 full-time jobs in 2008. As sales dried up, there was a switch towards engaging more part-time staff. Since November, we have seen 2,900 full-time and 11,300 part-time jobs created. This is the most positive news in the last 12 months.”

“Over the last 12 months, food retailing has been very strong, with 32,000 jobs created. But other segments reliant on discretionary spending have seen 83,000 jobs lost,” she added. “Larger retailers are intent on retaining their staff and in some cases have put on more employees.”

“Retail was the first sector to cool, losing jobs while the economy was growing and creating jobs. As the economy contracts this year, jobs in the sector will be under continuing pressure,” Mrs Osmond concluded.