Australian labor market seems to be stabilizing, businesses expect to increase staff in months ahead
The Australian labor market seems to have stabilized in the two weeks to 2 May. This is in line with a Department of Education, Skills and Employment survey, which implies that more businesses are anticipating to increase staff in the months ahead rather than decrease them – a big turnaround from early to mid-April, noted ANZ in a research report.
Payroll job levels came in slight higher for the week ended 2 May than for the week ended 18 April. The effect of policy on wages has been even bigger. Total wages paid rose as the JobKeeper package flowed through. There might have been compositional effect, but wages paid might also have been inflated by top-up payments. To receive the JobKeeper payment for the initial two fortnightly periods, employers must have paid eligible employees the minimum AUD 1,500 per fortnight before 8 May.
“The success that policy has had in stemming a greater decline in jobs and wages is to be celebrated and helps explain the relative strength in household spending and consumer sentiment. But there is a risk that the withdrawal of JobKeeper could see underutilisation continue to rise over a longer period and be counterproductive to improving economic and social outcomes”, added ANZ.
Region wise, New South Wales and the ACT were the only economies to suffer job losses in the two weeks to 2 May, although small in both cases. Victoria is the only state to have suffered the largest cumulative loss in jobs since mid-March.