10 July 2020
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Great job numbers, so don't f*** with me!

Peter Switzer
12 June 2015

By Peter Switzer

Being ensconced in Greece, I can’t wake up to the headlines in local newspapers but they better be trumpeting those good job numbers we got yesterday. If they don’t, the people responsible deserved to be ‘wacked’.
(I must confess that we are watching The Sopranos (a TV series we missed) after I bought the box set to travel with.

In the interests of objective reporting (and yes, I know, I can be a tick too positive at times), let’s see what’s inside these better than expected numbers. I’ve been expecting a strong result, following a very good run for job ads for over a year, which have been up 10 out of the past 12 months.

Here’s breakdown of the data:

  • Employment rose 42,000 and is up a strong 2% year-on-year.
  • Employment is up 19 months in a row in trend terms.
  • Over the past seven months, almost 200,000 jobs have been created. And not only that, more hours are being worked by existing workers and more people are finding work.
  • Part-time jobs rose 27,000 and are up 4% year-on-year. Full-time jobs rose by nearly 15,000 and are up 1.2% year-on-year.
  • The unemployment rate fell to 6% from 6.1% and is down from a peak of 6.3% in January.
  • AMP’s chief economist Shane Oliver said this: “The May jobs data support the view that the economy is nowhere near as weak as the doomsayers would have it.”
  • Oliver thinks job numbers aren’t as reliable in terms of their predictive implication and says because of the too high dollar, it’s 50/50 whether the RBA cuts at the August meeting.
  • The state picture looks good (except for South Australia): — NSW 5.7% (April 5.9%); Victoria 6.0% (6.1%); Queensland 6.3% (6.6%); South Australia 7.6% (7.2%); Western Australia 5.1% (5.6%); Tasmania 7.0% (7.3%). It’s good to see WA and Queensland, the two states most affected by the mining boom, decline showing good jobless outcomes.
  • The stock market liked the numbers and the guys there are hard to please, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 78 points (or 1.42%) to 5556.65. This gain was the best in seven weeks.

 Source: Bloomberg, AMP Capital
This is what CommSec’s Craig James said of these numbers: “What a sweet set of numbers! A solid lift in both full-time and part-time employment; a slide in the unemployment rate; and a steady participation rate. Employment surpassed even our rather optimistic expectations. If there was any dampener to the result, it was the mild downward revisions to last month’s employment results.”

So this week we’ve had a disappointing consumer confidence reading but business confidence and the jobs report have been absolutely, fantastically positive.

Sure, you can doubt monthly numbers but 200,000 jobs in seven months has to be a reason for positivity. For those who want to look for the negatives even in positive numbers like these, let me handle it, as Tony Soprano might, by simply saying: “Don’t f…with me!”

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