Pete Wargent blogspot

Co-founder & CEO of AllenWargent property buyer's agents, offices in Brisbane (Riverside) & Sydney (Martin Place), & CEO of WargentAdvisory (providing subscription analysis, reports & services to institutional clients).

5 x finance/investment author - 'Get a Financial Grip: a simple plan for financial freedom’ (2012) rated Top 10 finance books by Money Magazine & Dymocks.

"Unfortunately so much commentary is self-serving or sensationalist. Pete Wargent shines through with his clear, sober & dispassionate analysis of the housing market, which is so valuable. Pete drills into the facts & unlocks the details that others gloss over in their rush to get a headline. On housing Pete is a must read, must follow - he's one of the finest property analysts in Australia" - Stephen Koukoulas, MD of Market Economics, former Senior Economics Adviser to Prime Minister Gillard.

"Pete is one of Australia's brightest financial minds - a must-follow for articulate, accurate & in-depth analysis." - David Scutt, Business Insider, leading Australian market analyst.

"I've been investing for over 40 years & read nearly every investment book ever written, yet I still learned new concepts in his books. Pete Wargent is one of Australia's finest young financial commentators." - Michael Yardney, Australia's leading property expert, Amazon #1 best-selling author.

"The most knowledgeable person on Aussie real estate markets - Pete's work is great, loads of good data & charts, the most comprehensive analyst I follow in Australia. If you follow Australia, follow Pete Wargent" - Jonathan Tepper, Variant Perception, Global Macroeconomic Research, author of the New York Times bestsellers 'End Game' & 'Code Red'.

"The level of detail in Pete's work is superlative across all of Australia's housing markets" - Grant Williams, co-founder RealVision - where world class experts share their thoughts on economics & finance - author of Things That Make You Go Hmmm, one of the world's most popular & widely-read financial publications.

"Wargent is a bald-faced realty foghorn" - David Llewellyn-Smith, 'MacroBusiness'.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Unemployment at 3-year low (part-timers)

Part- time jobs

The ABS Labour Force showed total employment increasing to a new high of 11,968,600, but driven by a significant reclassification towards part time work.

A quick look in three parts...

Part 1 - Part-time employment zips higher

Total employment increased by a seasonally adjusted +26,200 in July, with a whopping increase in the total number part time jobs of +71,600.

Perhaps the part-time figures were skewed higher by part-time employment related to the Census, but nobody can be quite sure. 

While the month-to-month survey numbers aren't to be taken literally, this does reflect that almost three quarters of employment growth over the past year appears to have been part-time in nature. 

Total employment has increased by +220,000 or +1.9 per cent over the past year, well ahead of the headline rate of population growth, which should result in a lower unemployment rate.

The participation rate was steady at 64.9 per cent.

Part 2 - Large states lead

Employment growth in July was driven predominantly by a rebound in Queensland (+12,300), but the story of the past year has largely been about which state has added the most part-time positions.

Total employment growth over the past year increased in New South Wales (+89,900), Victoria (+93,000), and Queensland (+25,900). 

South Australia is also now in the black (+12,600), although full-time employment in the state has declined by -3.9 per cent over the past 8 years since July 2008, when the financial crisis kicked in. 

Indeed, the composition of employment growth hasn't been strong anywhere lately in Australia.

Total employment declined in Western Australia and Tasmania over the year to July.

Part 3 - Unemployment rate at 3-year low

Helped by the rise in part-time employment the trend unemployment rate of 5.71 per cent is at its lowest level in 34 months. 

The more volatile seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has pulled back from from 6.3 per cent at the beginning of 2015 to 5.7 per cent by July 2016.

At the state level, in seasonally adjusted terms New South Wales has the lowest unemployment rate (5.2 per cent), ans South Australia the highest, albeit at a much-improved 6.4 per cent. 

Meanwhile Western Australia saw its seasonally unemployment rate jump to 6.3 per cent. 

Plotting the smoother trend figures shows that the rise in part-time employment has helped to keep a lid on the unemployment rates across the board. 

The average number of hours worked increased by 1.1 per cent over the year - but the avergae hours worked per person has declined, while this week's wages data showed that wages growth in both mining and construction is particularly weak. 

The wrap

Overall, an apparently strong headline result masked a rather weak and uninspiring report, with employment growth dominated by part-time gigs over the past year. 

Perhaps election uncertainty played a role in cautious hiring the first half of 2016, but either way bond yields continue to seek out new lows. 

The emphasis on part-time employment goes some of the way to explaining why wages growth has been soft. 

Stockland reported its results this week, noting that the average price per square metre of a lot in Sydney had surged by 40 per cent over a frenetic financial year.

Chief Executive Mark Steinert predicted that house prices would continue to rise in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for "at least the next three years" based upon his three key metrics of employment, interest rates, and housing supply.