Jobs and wages figures positive; business challenges remain

16 Aug 2018 |

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today that total jobs fell by just under 4000 in July, following an increase of around 58,000 in June. While total employment fell there were 19,300 full-time jobs created in July after an increase of about 58,000 in June. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3% from 5.4%.

Australian Chamber Chief Economist, Adam Carr, noted that the July jobs print continues to show that the Australian economy is strengthening, particularly given the strong growth in full-time jobs.

“This is actually a good strong result, following the jobs number in June. Especially as full-time jobs have risen strongly in two consecutive months.

“It’s also a positive that the unemployment rate decreased from 5.4% to 5.3%. While this result is tempered by the fall in participation, we have seen an improvement in the unemployment rate over the last few months.

According to the ABS, the participation rate declined from 65.7% to 65.5%.

“While there are some positives in there, we remain concerned by the increase in the underemployment rate. It indicates that there is still significant spare capacity in the labour market – something that’s clearly been weighing on wages growth,” Mr Carr said.

“That said, the wage figures released over the last two days show the nascent acceleration in wage growth continuing.

The ABS also reported today that annual weekly wage growth (ordinary full-time adult) rose by 2.7% in the year to May 2018, up from 1.8% from at the same time last year.

“As the economy continues to grow, create more jobs and absorb spare capacity in the labour market, we should expect to see wages continue to increase steadily,” Mr Carr said.

“Policymakers can support growth in the Australian economy by making Australia more competitive through reducing energy costs, cutting taxes and supporting innovation.”

Duncan Bremner

Director - Public Affairs and Advocacy

P  |  0448 822 666

E  |  [email protected]

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