The outlook for jobs growth in Australia is weakening, except in the public sector

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  • Fewer Australian businesses plan to hire additional staff in the June quarter this year.
  • While a small net majority plan to increase hiring, the strength largely located in those sectors dominated by the public sector.
  • A small majority of firms plan to reduced headcount in New South Wales, the state with the highest number of workers in the country.

Fewer Australian businesses plan to hire additional staff in the June quarter this year, according to the latest ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey.

A net 10% of the more that 1,500 firms surveyed plan to increase staffing levels during the quarter, down from the levels seen in the previous six months.

Looking at the details, there was a clear divide in hiring intentions for the coming quarter with a big lift in industries dominated by the government masking weakness in a majority of other sectors.


“The positive national result obscures some sharp differences across the country,” the ManpowerGroup said.

“While the public administration and education sector has recorded a net gain of seven points for the June quarter compared to the same period last year, this has been offset by a seven point decline in the transportation and utilities sector over the same period.

“Also challenging the positive national result are recorded year-on-year declines in mining and construction (-3 points), wholesale and retail trade (-3 points), finance, insurance and real Estate (-2 points), and services (-2 points) sectors.”

So the headline strength was dominated by sectors more aligned with the public sector, mirroring the performance seen in the Australian economy in the second half of last year where government spending and investment helped to mask a steep slowdown in private sector activity levels.

Weaker employment intentions, especially for services which is the largest employer nationwide, points to a further slowdown in hiring in the months ahead.


Interestingly, the likely slowdown also looks set to be driven by hiring at larger, rather than smaller, Australian firms.

“A notable change in the data for the June quarter is the hiring intentions among Australia‚Äôs largest employers, which have recorded a decline of seven points year-on-year,” the ManpowerGroup said.

“This has reversed a trend over a number of years in which large firms had the strongest hiring intentions.”


Outside of the split in hiring intentions by sector and size of firms, it was also notable that businesses in New South Wales — where the most Australians are employed of any state and territory — plan to reduce staffing levels in the coming quarter, a mood in stark contrast to those firms located in most other parts of the country.

“The latest data also reveal significant differences across the States and Territories,” the ManpowerGroup said.

“Most notable is a year-on-year decline in the largest state of New South Wales at six points.

“However, year-on-year gains have been recorded in Queensland (+3 points) and Victoria (+1 point), while smaller states and territories have recorded even larger gains [except for South Australia].”

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