Labour Market Forecasts

A skilled and adaptable workforce can play an important role in enabling Australia to compete in the world economy and to achieve sustained employment growth. However, if the potential of the workforce is to be realised, the skills provided by the formal education and training sector must conform in large part to the needs of industry. With this objective in mind, the Centre of Policy Studies (COPS) has entered into a major ongoing research program on labour market forecasting.

To provide a useful guide for the allocation of training resources, employment forecasts must be for industries and occupations at a quite disaggregated level. On the other hand, when the disaggregated forecasts are added together, the resulting forecast for aggregate employment must be consistent with a plausible scenario for the macro economy. Hence the COPS forecasts are conducted within an economy-wide framework which integrates a macro model (to determine aggregate employment), an applied general equilibrium model (MONASH, to determine employment by industry) and a labour market extension (to determine employment by occupation).

So far the development of the system has focussed primarily on the demand for labour. A particular concern has been the effect in recent years of technological and social change on the structure of the economy and the implications for future labour demand. A complementary supply side forecasting system is currently in preparation.

The COPS system has been used since 1994 to provide a biannual briefing service to government agencies responsible for vocational education and training in Australia. Subscribers to this service have included the Australian National Training Authority, the New South Wales Board of Vocational Education and Training, The New South Wales TAFE Commission, the Victorian Office of Training and Further Education, Training and Employment Queensland, the South Australian Department of Employment, Training and Further Education, The Western Australian Department of Training and the Tasmanian Department of Industrial Relations, Vocational Education and Training.

The labour market research is mainly carried out by Tony Meagher and Janine Dixon .

Working papers

G.A.Meagher, P.D.Adams and J.M.Horridge, Applied General Equilibrium Modelling and Labour Market Forecasting.
G.A.Meagher and Felicity Pang, Labour Market Forecasting, Reliability and Workforce Development.


Updated VU Employment Forecasts are released in electronic format every September.

The most recent forecasts were released in September 2015. These forecasts cover the period 2015-16 to 2022-23.

Contact Janine Dixon for further information.