Fresh data coming on inflation’s impact on labour market

The labour market remains tight but there has been a noticeable reduction in advertised vacancies.

The labour market remains tight but there has been a noticeable reduction in advertised vacancies. Photo: TND

A fresh batch of jobs data will be pored over this week for confirmation the extremely tight labour market is starting to unwind.

The latest labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics comes after the jobless rate lifted to 3.7 per cent in April from 3.5 per cent against expectations it would hold firm.

Around 4300 jobs were lost from the economy over the four-week period in a sign the labour market was starting to respond to higher interest rates and global uncertainty.

But unemployment starting with a “three” is still indicative of a very tight jobs market, and there’s reason to believe it will take time for it to materially weaken.

NAB markets economist Taylor Nugent said he expects the unemployment rate to remain low for some time before drifting higher to around four per cent by the end of the year.

In an analysis of SEEK job ads data, Mr Nugent suggested the number of open roles was still falling but more slowly compared to the big drop-off in the second half of 2022.

Job ads remain elevated, however, and are still 33 per cent higher than December 2019 levels.

“While some of the more acute difficulty finding labour evident alongside rapid employment growth through 2022 has eased, the labour market overall remains tight,” he said.

The jobs figures will be released on Thursday.

Before then, Commonwealth Bank will release its household spending intentions indicator for the month of May on Tuesday.

NAB’s business survey for May is also due on Tuesday, as is the monthly consumer sentiment survey from Westpac and Melbourne Institute.

On Wednesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan will release their weekly consumer confidence index – delayed a day due to the King’s birthday public holiday and Monday – and the ABS will release overseas arrivals and departures data.

The S&P 500 closed higher on Friday but off session highs as a Tesla rally failed to galvanise the broader market ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting and inflation data next week.

The S&P 500 gained 4.93 points, or 0.11 per cent, at 4,298.86, taking this week’s advance to 0.38 per cent and extending its winning streak to four weeks, the longest since the July-August 2022 period.

The Nasdaq Composite notched its seventh straight week of gains, adding 20.62 points, or 0.16 per cent, to 13,259.14 on the day and 0.13 per cent on the week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 43.17 points, or 0.13 per cent, to 33,876.78, for a weekly gain of 0.33 per cent.

Australian futures fell 22 points to 7062.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index closed Friday up 18.8 points, or 0.32 per cent, to 7,122.5, while the broader All Ordinaries rose 24 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 7,312.3.


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