Jobs growth in January is expected to have bounced after a weak result in December but economic growth is still staying at a below average pace.
Official labour force figures, to be released on Thursday, are expected to show that the number of people with jobs rose by 15,000 in January, after a surprise fall of 22,600 in December.
January’s unemployment rate is forecast to rise to 5.9 per cent, from 5.8 per cent the month before, an AAP survey of 12 economists shows.
ANZ head of Australian economics Justin Fabo said the pace of jobs growth is still not enough to bring the unemployment rate down.
“Overall, most labour market indicators still suggest that underlying employment growth remains soft,” he said.
“The expected rise in employment in January would still be shy of the roughly 20,000 per month necessary to maintain a stable employment-to-population ratio.
“It’s also worth noting that the past two January reports have shown strong rises in employment which may be associated with a change in seasonal patterns that the seasonally adjustment processes are slow to capture.”
JP Morgan Australia chief economist Stephen Walters said there were many indications pointing to employment growth still being weak.
“Job advertisements and vacancies are still moving backwards, and the levels of the NAB business survey employment intentions index remain in line with the poor average level that has held through the Reserve Bank of Australia’s easing cycle,” he said.
“For this reason, we see little scope for relief from the upward trend in the unemployment rate in this week’s labour force survey.
“However, we are wary of how depressed the employment estimates were through most of last year.
“It is unusual to see such a prolonged period of underperformance in the monthly employment series.”
The participation rate – the percentage of the working-age population either in work or looking for a job – is expected to stay steady at 64.6 per cent in January.