Was April as good as it gets for the Australian jobs market?
April’s report only showed 4,000 new jobs, but that was after 92,400 new full-time jobs were created and 88,400 part time jobs ended – presumably as most of the latter became the former.
That was a solid outcome for the month in a labour market getting short of labour.
The 3.9% low was actually reached in March – the first report for March suggested the unemployment rate was a touch under 4% but a subsequent revision dropped it to 3.9% which was confirmed in Thursday’s report.
While the figure of 4,000 new jobs was well short of the forecast 20,000, the revisions to March and earlier months confirms quality of jobs growth has been very strong with a surge in full time jobs such that hours worked rose strongly by 23 million.
A total of 379,000 new jobs were created in the year to April and 1 million over the two years – in both cases the creation was mostly restoration of old work as hundreds of thousands of people were laid off or went on JobKeeper type payments until the pandemic passed and the lockdowns were eased.
But from now on job creation gets much tougher.
Job vacancies in February of 423,500, an increase of 6.9% from November 2021. Private sector vacancies were 386,200, an increase of 6.7% from November 2021. Public sector vacancies were 37,300, an increase of 8.6% from November 2021. Total vacancies were 73% of unemployment for the month of 560,000.
Unemployment has now fallen to 537,000 (down from 748,000 in April last year, boosted by the ripples from Covid). Even if there is no increase in job vacancies in the three months to May, the unemployment pool’s share of the total rises to 79%.
Around 300,000 people change jobs every month in Australia so it is impossible for those changes and the available vacancies to meet demand.
The answer is more immigration – but from where? China is a Covid cesspool, and many other countries also have problems with infections. Immigration by the fully vaccinated is the key and all vaccines (for China, India etc) are now on the all-clear list.
Economists continued to maintain that the jobless data means wage rises are coming – they may very might emerge eventually, but they are long time coming as Wednesday’s weak March quarter Wage Price Index confirmed.