Coming just a day after learning wages grew at the slowest pace on record in the year to March, Australia’s labour market will remain in focus today with the April’s jobs report scheduled for release later on this morning.
After a massive increase in March, including 74,500 full-time workers, employment growth is expected to slow sharply in April.
However, given persistent volatility in the ABS’ seasonally adjusted data, literally any outcome could arrive today.
Here’s the state of play:
- In March, employment soared by 60,900 in seasonally adjusted terms, the sixth consecutive increase in a row and the largest gain since September 2015.
- From a state and territory perspective, the strongest increase in employment was recorded in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria at 28,800, 23,300 and 9,800 respectively.
- February’s decline, previously reported as a drop of 6,400, was also revised higher to show an increase of 2,800.
- From a year earlier, employment grew by 146,000, or 1.22%, the fastest percentage increase since September last year.
- Over that period, full-time employment increased by 67,800, or 0.8%, the first year-on-year rise reported since August 2016. Part-time employment grew by 78,100, or 2.1%, the slowest increase in two years.
- Total employment now stands at 12.06 million, the highest level on record.
- Fitting with the surge in hiring during the month, total hours worked increased by 3.2 million hours to 1.66642 billion hours.
- Despite strong employment growth, the unemployment rate held steady at 5.9% courtesy of a lift in labour market participation which rose from 64.6% to 64.8%, leaving it at the highest level since July 2016.
- With more Australians entering the labour market, the number of unemployed increased by 4,000 to 753,100.
- In April, a less-flattering increase in employment is expected with the median economist forecast centred around a gain of just 5,000.
- Individual forecasts range from a decline of 20,000 to a gain of 20,000, reflective of volatility in the data.
- Despite the modest employment growth expected, the unemployment rate is tipped to hold steady at 5.9% thanks to a drop in labour market participation to 64.7%.
- With the RBA recently raising concerns about using the spilt between full and part-time employment growth to gauge labour market slack, and with underemployment figures not arriving until the next jobs report in May, it’s likely that the total change in employment, the unemployment rate and hours worked will prove to be the most influential figures for financial markets today.
The report is scheduled to arrive at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have all the details as soon as its released.