Australian jobs market booms, December rate cut unlikely: AMP Capital's Shane Oliver

Australian jobs market booms, December rate cut unlikely: AMP Capital's Shane Oliver
Australian jobs market booms, December rate cut unlikely: AMP Capital's Shane Oliver

GUEST OBSERVER

Australia saw very strong jobs growth in October. Total employment rose by 58,600, the strongest since March 2012, driven by a 40,000 gain in full time jobs. Employment is up 2.7% on a year ago.

This pushed the unemployment rate down 5.9%, from 6.2% in September.

Jobs growth is very strong in NSW (3.8%yoy) and Victoria (+3%yoy) in contrast to WA which has slowed to +1.1%yoy. As a result unemployment is now falling in NSW (to 5.5%) and Victoria (5.6%) versus WA where unemployment has risen to 6.4%.

Hours worked are also strong at +1.2% month on month or +3.8% year on year.

There is a danger in reading too much into monthly jobs data as it can be quite volatile. For example in May unemployment similarly fell to 5.9% from 6.2% in response to a 50,000 jobs gain only to bounce back in subsequent months.

Employment growth at 2.7% year on year has now also run well ahead of the growth suggested by leading jobs indicators such as the NAB Employment intentions survey. As a result a pullback in employment could be expected next month and just as we have seen on several occasions over the last year or so, it’s still premature to say we have seen the peak in unemployment.

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Australian jobs market booms, December rate cut unlikely: AMP Capital's Shane Oliver

That said, the ongoing strength in trend employment growth (now running at +19,000 jobs a month) is consistent with the economy continuing to hold up reasonably well helped along by the rebalancing of the economy evident in strong jobs growth in NSW and Victoria. 

As a result a December rate cut is now very unlikely and while I still lean to another rate cut early next year, it’s now a very close call, and we would need to see some softer economic data in the interim.

 

SHANE OLIVER is head of investment strategy and economics and chief economist at AMP Capital and is responsible for AMP Capital's diversified investment funds.

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Employment Rate Cut

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