Good news on job front

It’s always heartening when the first real economic data of the year is positive, especially when it’s employment growth.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today had the December unemployment rate at 7.5 per cent, down half a percentage point on November, and the lowest level since September 1990.

The unemployment figures released by the ABS are typically volatile, but the latest release is confirmed, at least in trend, by the ANZ job vacancies survey. The ANZ figures, released on Monday, showed that the employment market was growing strongly, and well on target to achieve the Federal Government’s aim of 2 per cent growth in employment in the 1998-99 financial year.

The ANZ survey revealed an 5.6 per cent increase in December against the previous month, and a rise of 17.4 per cent on the previous year. Analysts believe the ANZ figures imply a jobless rate of 7.8 per cent for the June 1999 quarter.