Unemployment down but self-employed geoscientists continue to struggle

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Unemployment amongst Australian geoscientists continued to fall during the first quarter of 2019.

At 31 March 2019, the latest Australian Institute of Geoscientist’s (AIG) Employment Survey revealed an average unemployment rate of 7.5%, down from 9.1% recorded three months earlier at the end of December 2018.

The underemployment rate amongst self-employed geoscientists, however, increased 2% to 20.5%, continuing an upturn in the self-employed’s unemployment rate evident in the December 2018 survey when a rate of 18.5% was recorded.

The fall in geoscientist unemployment continues a gradual, downward trend that became evident in March 2016.

In the first quarter of 2019, geoscientist unemployment increased in all states except Queensland and the Northern Territory.  The biggest increase was observed in Victoria where the unemployment rate increased from 5.9% to 11.8%.  In Queensland, the unemployment rate fell from 15.1% to 9.4%.  Underemployment increased in every state except South Australia, where the rate fell from 36.8% to 31.2%.  Too few responses were received from Tasmania to quote figures for that state.

AIG President, Mr Andrew Waltho, welcomed the continued fall in geoscientist employment but noted that self-employed geoscientists continued to struggle.

“There is, clearly, evidence that improved industry activity is creating new employment opportunities for geoscientists, particularly in mineral exploration, but any talk of a boom seems premature,” Mr Waltho said.

“We received excellent responses to the survey again, with more than 400 contributions received from geoscientists across Australia,” he said.

The second quarter survey will open for contributions early in July.

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