Don’t be alarmed if there is a large fall in the number of Australians with jobs in September, believe it or not the jobs market is improving.
Official labour force figures to be released on Thursday are tipped to show the number of people with jobs fell by by 30,000 in September, after an outsized gain of 121,000 in August.
The unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 6.2 per cent in September, from 6.1 per cent the month before, according to an AAP survey of 13 economists.
National Australia Bank senior economist Spiros Papadopoulos said a backward step in employment is inevitable after August recorded the biggest monthly gain in 23 years.
“The various changes the Australian Bureau of Statistics made to the labour force survey methodology in July has clearly impacted on recent outcomes,” he said.
“Recent leading indicators of employment have pointed to improving
employment growth, but nowhere near as strong as what we saw in the August report.”
A key leading indicator for Thursday’s figures are the ANZ job advertisement survey, which showed a 0.9 per cent rise in employment ads in newspapers in September.
Ads for the 12 months to September were up 7.9 per cent, the fastest pace in two years.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan expects the unemployment rate to stabilise a little above six per cent over the next few quarters before gradually falling.
“Employment in mining and related industries will be weighed down by the windback in mining investment, while improving conditions in some labour intensive industries such as health and construction should provide an offset,” he said.
“The recent depreciation of the Australian dollar will also assist in the transition towards non-mining sources of economic growth, assist employment in some industries such as tourism and help stem job losses in manufacturing.”
Commonwealth Bank economist Gareth Aird is forecasting total employment to decline by only 10,000 in September.
“The record lift in employment in August was rightly seen as an
anomaly,” he said.
“Looking at the last three monthly prints suggests the true picture seems to be an unemployment rate settling in the low sixes.”
Mr Aird said any decline in employment over September is likely to be accompanied with a fall in the participation rate.
“So on that basis, the unemployment rate is not likely to lift over September,” he said.
The participation rate – those that have a job, are looking for work or are ready to start work – is forecast to fall to 65.0 per cent in September, from 65.2 per cent the month before.