Friday, November 12, 2010

Our unemployment rate will have a 4 in front of it

So don't let 5.4 worry you

NSW has replaced Victoria as the nation's leading generator of jobs, producing an extraordinary 56,000 new jobs in the past three months - more than half the national total of 110,000, itself one of the most impressive three month runs on record.

The Bureau of Statistics reports 30,000 new jobs were created in October on top of 60,000 in September and 30,000 in August - at a daily rate approaching 1200.

In earlier months Victoria was clearly in the lead, itself producing half the national total.

Reflecting the changed roles NSW now has a better unemployment rate at the national average of 5.4 per cent, compared to Victoria's 5.6 per cent. Western Australia is the best-off state at 4.7 per cent.

The national unemployment rate climbed from 5.1 to 5.4 per cent despite the extra 30,000 jobs in October because of an unexpected jump of 62,000 in the number of Australians making themselves available for work...

If maintained, the jump is good news because it will increase Australia's productivity capacity and pressure off the jobs market. The participation rate which measures the proportion of working age Australians available for work climbed to an all-time high.

But the unemployment rate at first spooked financial markets who pushed the dollar down below $US1 as it was released before pushign the dollar back up to $US1.0045.

"At first glance the news wasn't good enough for the markets, but it's still very good for the economy," said TD Securities strategist Roland Randall. "We have created 375,000 new jobs in just 12 months. We would have to go back half a decade to find a better performance."

So fast are jobs now being created the forecasts in this week's Budget update already look timid. The update predicted jobs growth of 2.5 per cent this financial year. So far this financial year the annualised rate has been 3 per cent.

If jobs growth continues near its present pace rather than slowing as predicted, Australia's unemployment rate will reach 4.75 per cent well ahead of the June 2011 projected in the update and 4.5 per cent well ahead of the projected June 2012.

The Commonwealth Bank was last night predicting an unemployment rate as low as 4 per cent within months.

"The jobs data is unequivocally robust," said CBA economist John Peters. "And forward indicators such as job ads and vacancies and hiring intentions point to ongoing solid job creation in the rest of this year and beyond."

"We see the unemployment rate tracking lower into the 4 to 5 per cent band during 2011, that's within so-called the full-employment zone that sets the Reserve Bank's nerves jangling."

The Treasury made a point of restating in this week's Budget update that it believes that "full employment" or what it calls the rate of unemployment at which inflation pressures start to emerge is somewhere between 4.5 and 5 per cent.

"With the economy expected to be operating at around capacity, inflation risks remain on the
upside," it said.

The Commonwealth Bank expects the Reserve Bank to lift is cash rate from its present 4.75 per cent to 5.75 per cent throughout next next year, implying mortgage rates approaching 9 per cent by late next year, back to where they were before the global financial crisis.

Who's piling on the jobs?

New jobs since June, trend

NSW: 56,000
Victoria: 35,000
Western Australia 4100
Northern Territory: 2400
South Australia: 1700
ACT: 1100
Queensland: 900
Tasmania: 200

Published in today's SMH

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