Australia’s jobs report for March is about to be released.
Employment has increased for 17 consecutive months, the longest stretch of gains in the 40-year history of the ABS survey. In the past 12 months alone, over 420,000 Australians have found work, the second-largest increase over a comparable record on record.
It’s been a jobs bonanza.
However, despite booming employment growth over the past year, the pace of employment growth has slowed. At the same time, the size of Australia’s labour force has risen faster, seeing unemployment tick higher.
With unemployment still sitting well above the levels where wage growth typically begins to increase, that means today’s report, like all labour market indicators, carries the potential to be more market-moving than ususal.
Here’s the state of play.
- In February, employment rose by 17,500, undershooting forecasts for an increase of 20,000.
- Full-time employment surged by 64,900 to 8.534 million, masking a 47,400 drop in part-time employment.
- At 12.48 million, total employment rose highest level on record.
- Reflecting the increase in full-time hiring, total hours worked jumped by 21.2 million hours, largely reversing declines in the prior two months.
- Over the year, full-time employment jumped by 327,600, outpacing a smaller increase of 93,100 in part-time workers. Combined, total employment rose by 420,700.
- Over the same period, the size of Australia’s labour force — combining those already in employment or actively seeking work — grew by 406,700, driven by a lift in immigration and stronger job market conditions encouraging those not previously in the labour market to actively look for work.
- Australia’s employment-to-population ratio — measuring the percentage of working age Australians in employment — held steady at 62% for a second consecutive month. It has risen close to 1.5 percentage points since late 2014 and sits at the highest level in around seven years.
- The unemployment rate rose to 5.6%, up from 5.5% in January, as labour force participation rose to 65.7%. Many believe unemployment will need to fall to 5% or below before wage pressures in Australia will start to accelerate.
- With the size of the labour force increasing faster employment, the total number of unemployed Australians rose by 8,900 to 734,100.
- Australia’s underemployment rate, measuring the proportion of workers who have a job but who would like to work more hours, rose by 0.1 percentage points to 8.4%.
- Combined with unemployed workers, labour market underutilisation increased 0.1 percentage points to 13.9%.
- Today, economists expect employment to increase and unemployment to fall.
- Of the 21 polled by Bloomberg, the median forecast looks for an increase in employment of 20,000. Individual forecasts range from a gain of anywhere between 10,000 to 30,000 — no one expects a decline.
- Participation is expected to hold at 65.7%, seeing the unemployment rate fall to 5.5%.
- With no underemployment or underutilisation figures contained in today’s report, markets will look to the split between full and part-time employment, total hours worked, along the unemployment rate, to gauge whether labour market conditions tightened or loosened during the month.
The report will be released at 11.30am AEST.
Business Insider will have all of the facts and figures, along with the implications, as soon as it hits the screens.
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