Australian jobs data left has left economists scratching their heads

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Australian jobs growth continues to defy expectations.

The country added 37,400 jobs in seasonally adjusted terms, smashing expectations for an increase of just 5,000. With that Australia has added jobs for seven straight months and in the process unemployment levels have fallen to four month low.

And at 12.099 million, a record number of Australians are employed now.

That’s what the Australian Bureau of Statistics says. But not all are convinced.

A case in point are the economists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the country’s largest lender.

Here’s what they had to say:

Once again the ABS has published an employment report that has left us scratching our heads. Employment is reported to have lifted by a very strong 37,400 in April after increasing by a massive 60,000 in March. To put these numbers in perspective, it’s the equivalent of a 1.2 million increase in US non farm payrolls over two months! To further add to our concerns over the data, total hours worked is reported to have fallen by 0.3% in April and is down by 0.1% over the past two months despite employment having risen by 97,400

That commentary rekindles some of the exasperation felt by analysts back in October. Then economists including from the CBA openly questioned the veracity of what is the single-most important data release in Australia each and every month.

Then economists from HSBC to National Australia Bank offered damning assessments of the jobs data.

Stephen Walters, chief economist at the Australian Institute of Company Directors, has previously called the jobs data “a dog’s dinner”

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