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Stephen Koukoulas - Labour Market Data
BY STEPHEN KOUKOULAS - 13/11/2017 | VIEW MORE ARTICLES BY ALAN KOHLER

It’s all about the labour market with the dual highlights being the Wage Price Index and the Labour Force.

To wages first. One of the hangovers of the GFC has been a soft labour market with record high underemployment, still high-ish unemployment and a move to the gig workforce which is eating away at the traditional working conditions for employees, including wages. As a result of these factors, wages growth has fallen to a record low of just 1.9 per cent, roughly the rate of inflation. This weak wages growth has kept incomes well contained and, as we saw last week, retail sales growth very subdued.

The data this week will get a boost from the Fair Work decision to boost to the minimum wage but this will be partly offset by the cuts to penalty rates in some retail sectors. As such the market is looking for wages to lift 0.7 per cent in the quarter for an annual rise of 2.1 per cent. Better than before but still not the sort of increase that is likely to be sending shoppers to the malls or on-line retailers.

The other marque release will be the labour force which will see whether the run of terrific jobs growth can be sustained for another month and whether the gentle trend to lower unemployment can be repeated. The jury is out but the general view of market economists is for a small 10.000 rise in employment and for the unemployment rate to remain steady at 5.5 per cent.



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