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Australian labour market – plodding along with no direction in sight

Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest data – Labour Force, Australia, December 2018 – which reveals modest employment growth but a second consecutive month of full-time employment contraction. The moderate employment growth, however, was slightly higher than the weak growth in the labour force and unemployment fell marginally. The broad measure of labour underutilisation fell by 0.2 points to 13.3 per cent. The teenage labour market continued to deteriorate despite the positive employment growth. The current situation can best be characterised as plodding along with with no direction in sight. Other indicators are suggesting a slowdown in the next few months. What we can conclude is that the Australian labour market remains a considerable distance from full employment. There is clear room for some serious policy expansion at present.

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