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Jobs growth tipped for forklift industry

A number of forklift companies intend to hire more staff, while most seem to be planning to retain existing staff and not adding to headcounts, according to a snap poll by Forkliftaction.com News.

These findings came in a survey of players in the forklift industry in the wake of a recent ANZ Job Advertisements Series showing the total number of jobs advertised in major metropolitan newspapers and on the internet rose by 1.3% in July, following strong increases in the previous two months.

Gary Hodge of Komatsu Forklifts Australia tells Forkliftaction.com News that the company has 15 job vacancies, ranging from technicians to branch managers. He is confident that the next financial year will result in improved market activity.

"It is our view that many organisations put their forklift replacement programs on hold due to the GFC and lack of confidence.  This will result in a larger number of sales as confidence returns which we expect to see after the election is concluded."

Bill Pfleger, managing director of NMHG Asia Pacific, tells Forkliftaction.com News that the company is hiring, with business activity expected to improve slightly for the remainder of this year.

Jay Jack of Forkserve has a positive outlook, and says the company intends to double its staff over the next 12 months to keep pace with demand and make sure there is no undue pressure on the company’s mechanics.

He says many companies need to hire more people but senior management is holding off due to economic uncertainty.

"In spite of tough economic conditions, the business is out there for independent companies if they want it enough," he says, adding that regardless of the election outcome, the economy is expected to get better.

"The feeling out there is that it will get better under Liberal than it will with Labor though," he concludes. Meanwhile, John Flinn of Hystandard Handling Equipment says he intends to retain staff at current levels, with business activity expected to increase only marginally for the remainder of 2010.

Linde Material Handling Australia also says its head count will remain static at this stage. "However, this is an area that requires constant focus and flexibility, to ensure that we have the correct manning levels to meet the market demands," says managing director Carl Smith.

"I am not sure that there will be an increase in the forklift industry business activity in the remainder of 2010.  We believe that there is still a degree of caution in the market, which may continue until year-end."

However, he adds that there has been an indication that business confidence is returning.  "Although the market statistics (units purchased) may not reflect this, activity and interest does appear higher than the previous months."

Damien Garvey, national sales manager of NTP Forklifts says the company will maintain current levels of staff.

"Whilst the past two months, June and July, have improved over the previous months, we are still a little apprehensive to believe the worst is over," he tells Forkliftaction.com News.

"Business activity is still unpredictable and finance is still not readily available to a lot of small to medium-sized businesses."

According to ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan, the rises in job advertisements in June and July highlight Australia's resilience amid the uncertain global economic backdrop.  

"Australian employers still appear upbeat about Australia's economic prospects despite heightened external risks.

"We are expecting jobs growth of around 20,000 this month. With the participation rate sitting at 65.2%, this would see the unemployment rate remain steady at 5.1%."

He says the improvement in Australia's unemployment rate is coming at an early stage in the economic cycle.  

"Australian economic growth is expected to accelerate to above-trend rates in 2011, propelled by strong business investment.  This will see the unemployment rate fall further and will likely see capacity constraints in Australia's labour market (such as skills shortages) worsen.  This presents significant upside risk to wages and consumer price inflation."