The 3,700 rise in employment last month fell short of the 17,000 gain economists had expected, but takes the total growth in jobs across the economy over the last year to more than 350,000 positions. More than 80% of these new jobs have been in full time positions, a reversal of the trend of the previous few years, when part time roles dominated. Annual employment growth dipped a touch in October to 3.0%oya, having reached a nine year high in September.
There was a 24,000 gain in full time positions last month, which more than made up for a 20,000 fall in part time jobs. Full time employment has risen in nine of the last 12 months. Part time employment has been more volatile, with more monthly falls than gains since October 2016.
The national unemployment rate fell for the second straight month, and now is the lowest since February 2013. The fall in unemployment stemmed partly from a dip in the participation rate. New South Wales retained the lowest jobless rate at 4.6%, with Tasmania now having the highest (up 0.3points to 6.1%). The largest fall last month was in Victoria (down 0.3 points to 5.7%), but the jobless rate rose in Queensland and WA (it was unchanged in NSW and SA).
For directors, the main takeaway from this week’s data releases is that the business community is feeling it’s most upbeat for some years. Business conditions in the AICD’s recent DSI survey reached the highest since 2011, a finding matched by this week’s NAB business conditions index. Firms are hiring, too, as evidenced by the stellar jobs reports for most of this year. Consumer confidence dipped again this week, though, indicating that households are feeling unusually cautious as the traditional holiday spending period starts.