While we won’t know the final numbers until next week when the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) releases its December jobs report, 2017 was a stellar year for employment growth in Australia.
In the 12 months to November, a whopping 387,000 jobs were created, an increase of 3.2% from a year earlier — impressive numbers in anyone’s language.
Beneath the headline figures, the other notable development during the year was strength in female employment growth, surging by 209,000, outpacing a 178,000 increase for males over the same period.
Just take a look at the chart below from the Commonwealth Bank revealing the annual change in employment by individual sector.
Of the top five that recorded the strongest employment growth — healthcare, construction, professional services, retail and education – more women than men found employment over the year.
“The sectors showing the strongest jobs growth over the past few years tend to have a higher proportion of females and a higher proportion of part-time jobs,” says Michael Workman, senior Eeconomist at the Commonwealth Bank, referring to the chart below.
According to Workman, the trends seen in 2017 will likely continue in the year ahead, something that he says should help lift female employment growth and labour market participation as a result.
This chart from the Commonwealth Bank shows the annual percentage change in employment by full and part-time positions.
And this shows the steady increase in female labour force participation over the past four decades, an outcome in stark contrast to male labour force participation which continues to trend lower.
While 2017 was a standout year for female employment growth, from a broader perspective, Workman says that total employment growth will likely remain strong in the year ahead.
“In our view, the strong jobs market performance is set to continue through 2018,” he says. “We expect another 300,000 new jobs with more full-time than part-time [positions being created].”