Jobs outlook is most positive it has been in Australia for six years

by Ray Clancy on April 2, 2018

in Jobs in Australia

The outlook for jobs in Australia reached one of the strongest levels for six years in the first quarter of 2018 with high demand in finance, retail and real estate.

The latest employment outlook survey from the Manpower Group says that the jobs market is upbeat despite some declines in hiring expectations in the mining, construction and manufacturing sectors.

(tashatuvango/Bigstock.com)

Looking ahead it says that more employers plan to increase their staffing levels than not heading into the second quarter of the year across all industry sectors. But there is some differences in terms of location and job type.

Expectations in the wholesale and retail trade sector have increased by 7% compared to the same period last year, while employers in the finance, insurance and real estate sector report an increase of 4%.

However, employers in the mining and construction sector report a decline of 4% year on year, as have those in the manufacturing sector. Similarly, employers in the services sector report a decline of 3% compared to the same period in 2017. Despite the easing in the employment outlook across these key sectors, all remain in positive territory.

The impact of a softer outlook in the mining and construction sector can be seen in Queensland where hiring expectations are down 3% year on year as the state deals with an end to the frenetic pace of apartment building in Brisbane over recent years.

Yet in Western Australia, where mining and construction are integral parts of the state’s economy, the employment outlook has increased by 2% as the state begins to emerge from a housing downturn over the last 18 months.

Manpower Group Australia and New Zealand managing director Richard Fischer believes that there is clear evidence of a strong labour market while noting that there are distinct differences across the country.

‘The employment outlook in Australia remains at one of the strongest levels in six years. However, we continue to see variation across sectors and regions. Most notable is the easing employment outlook for the mining and construction sector and the manufacturing sector, while hiring intentions have picked up in the formerly subdued wholesale and retail trade sector,’ he said.

‘The improved employment outlook in the wholesale and retail trade sector is encouraging and suggests that businesses are confident consumer demand will hold up in 2018 as wages pressure builds in the economy,’ he added.

Large and medium size organisations have recorded both year on year gains of 1% and 5% respectively. However, uncertain hiring plans are reported by small and micro-size businesses with employment outlooks of -1% and -5%.

Fischer explained that the softer outlook from small organisations may reflect concern around increasing headcount at a time when there is a growing debate about the need to increase wages across the economy.

But he pointed out that overall there is also positive for hopes of wage increases in the coming quarters. ‘The strength of the employment outlook across the country continues to bode well for gains in household income over the coming year. While this may take some time to flow through the economy, there are clearly positive signs,’ he concluded.

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