Thursday, 9 May 2013

Australia's labour market data

I mentioned in my post earlier today ('All good news in today's employment data') that Australia's jobs statistics have been bouncing around in the same way that ours have, and as it happened Australia's latest numbers came out while I was writing. Same again: this year, the seasonally adjusted estimates of new jobs created each month in Australia have been +12,300 (January), an outsized +71,700 (February), a slump of -31,200 (March), and now a large +50,100 (April). No wonder the economic forecasters have been baffled by trying to pick the monthly numbers - the consensus forecast was for +11,000 jobs, well below what actually happened.

Or did it? The variability in the statistics is, very likely,  not mirroring what is actually happening in the economy. The best advice at the moment (as I said in that earlier post)  is probably not to pay much mind to the seasonally adjusted numbers (though these will be the ones featured in the media) and look at the 'trend' estimates, which take out a lot of the fluff and noise. On the trend basis, new jobs each month this year were +18,900 (January), +19,700 (February), +18,400 (March), and +16,500 (April).

That looks much more reflective of what has been actually happening - ongoing though modest growth in the Australian economy, with the mining sector slowing down from its previous boom-time investment spending and the rest of the Australian economy not picking up the slack.

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