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Thursday, 15 February 2018

Sweet 16, as Queensland jobs growth surges

16 on the bounce

Yet another month of employment growth, this time up a seasonally adjusted +16,000 to 12,453,500, to make it 16 gains in a row, which is a record for the Australian economy. 

Annual employment growth remained very strong at +403,000 or +3.35 per cent, but this month there was a wild swing towards part-time work, which stripped the positive sheen off the result. 

By far and away the most jobs were added in Queensland in the month at +19,700, although this month's gains were of the part-time vintage. 

Queensland's economy added +118,000 jobs over the past year, which represents a huge rate of statewide employment growth at +5 per cent, with +91,600 of those being full-time positions.

The participation rate was down a notch in January, but the trend has been up to around the highest level in 7 years, with Queensland being one of the states to see a marked lift in recent times. 

Unemployment rate flattening

The unemployment rate ticked down a notch to 5.49 per cent, but the downtrend seems to have lost its way a bit. 

At the state level, New South Wales and to a lesser extent Victoria look to be in reasonably good nick from an unemployment rate perspective, but Tasmania clearly wins the most improved mantle as the state's mini-boom continues. 

Finally the trend annual change in hours worked also slowed to +2.7 per cent - another softer indicator, reflecting more part-time roles and plenty of slack in the labour force. 

The wrap

Not a bad headline result but softer underlying figures, and the unemployment rate at ~5.5 per cent looks too high to be associated with significant wage pressures.

It's only one month of figures, of course, but this may herald a looming slowdown in the very high rate of employment growth seen in 2017.