16/11/2017 - 14:51

WA jobless slightly up

16/11/2017 - 14:51

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Western Australia’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points in October to be 5.8 per cent in trend terms, while the national number remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent.

WA jobless slightly up
Nationally, business conditions are good, a cause for optimism. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Western Australia’s unemployment rate rose 0.1 percentage points in October to be 5.8 per cent in trend terms, while the national number remained unchanged at 5.5 per cent.

Employment was roughly stagnant below 1.4 million in trend terms, with a marginal number of men gaining work while female employment fell a similar amount.

Just more than 68 per cent of Western Australians were employed full time, slightly less than in the previous month.

Labour force participation was 68.1 per cent in trend terms, 0.8 percentage points higher than in October of last year.

Nationally, about 4,000 jobs were put on.

Recruitment site Indeed Apac economist Callam Pickering said there was a lot of good news in the national data.

“Full-time employment continues to make strong gains, having accounted for almost 85 per cent of employment growth over the past year, and hours worked across the economy is rising at its fastest pace in almost seven years,” he said.  

“Nevertheless, there remains a high degree of slack across the labour market, despite recent improvements.

“This helps to explain the ongoing weakness in wage growth and the cautiousness of Australian households.

“Together the data indicates that the economy still has a long way to go before the Reserve Bank of Australia will consider tighter monetary policy.”

HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said nationally, employment was 3 per cent higher than a year ago.

“Despite softer jobs growth than expected, the labour market continued to tighten in October,” he said.

“While Australia has recorded strong jobs growth over most of 2017, the unemployment rate  had been slow to fall, because participation has picked up and was a little stronger than the historical relationship with employment would suggest. 

“Therefore we see the pull back in participation in October, and the resulting fall in unemployment, as a bit of 'catch up'.

“Other labour market indicators point to continued strength in job creation over coming months.

“In particular, surveyed business conditions hit the highest level on record in October (the series began in the late 1990s).

“A further decline in the unemployment rate looks likely.

“Anything close to the recent rate of decline would be a positive surprise for the RBA, whose forecasts assume the unemployment rate stays around 5.5 per cent through 2018.”

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