Job surge continues but unemployment creeps up


This is the longest run, equal to the longest run of consecutive monthly job increases since 1978.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.5% after being at 5.4% for the last three months due to an increase in the participation rate.

The Australian labor market continues to be strong, with another solid rise in employment seen in December affirming that underlying momentum in the economy stays strong. Over the past year, hours worked per working age adult have also climbed from 85.3 per month to 86.6 per month.

WA had the second largest increase in the nation, up 6100 people.

Full-time employment growth drove the headline increase, jumping by 303,400 over the year.

An additional 17,000 workers found full-time work in December, while part-time employees increased by 8000.

Labour force participation - Australians of working age either in or looking for work - now stands at the highest level since January 2011.

He said 1.1 million Australians were looking for more work but were unable to find it.

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With the size of Australia's labour market increasing faster than employment, the total number of unemployed Australians rose by 20,500 to 730,600.

JP Morgan analyst Ben Jarman said the unemployment rate would remain relatively unchanged until the economy hits above trend growth.

Breaking down the results, Queensland and the ACT saw the strongest jobs growth, up 4.6 per cent over the year, followed by NSW at 3.5 per cent.

"Jobs growth will probably come off the boil a bit", he said following the release of the report. This implies that the strength in employment is drawing more people into the jobs market.

The market has pencilled in only a 50-50 chance of the Reserve Bank raising rates from their record low of 1.5 per cent by August, with that contingent on inflation rising to within the RBA's target of 2-3 per cent through wages showing some signs of life.

Callam Pickering, APAC Economist at Indeed, agrees with Dales' assessment.

However, wages growth remains a key concern for decision-makers and has proven a drag on consumer spending.

"We believe that there is reason to be optimistic on wages, particularly now that businesses are cashed up and some report a greater difficulty in finding new staff, but improvement could be slow".