Stephen Koukoulas - Jobs Data
Amid the discussion about how strong or weak the Australian economy is, this week sees the release of the labour force data for February. The labour market encapsulates most critical undercurrents in the economy with information of total employment, the unemployment rate, the mix of full and part time employment and the level of underemployment throughout the whole economy.
In recent months, the general tone of the labour force data has been soft. Employment growth is moderate and heavily skewed towards part-time jobs while the unemployment rate has been stuck a tenth of a percent or two around 5.75 per cent. The unemployment rate has been trending higher for a couple of years. For there to be confidence that the economy is sustaining a step up in growth, we need to see a lift in job creation, for most of them to be full time and for the unemployment rate to fall below 5.5 per cent and move towards 5.0 per cent. It is to be hoped we are step closer after the February data are out next week.
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