CreditorWatch’s Chief Economist, Harley Dale, comments on today’s ABS Labour Force data. December’s results saw Australia’s unemployment rate fall to 4.2 per cent in December 2021 from 4.6 per cent a month earlier. This was the lowest reading since August 2008 as COVID-19 lockdowns were lifted.
Australia’s labour market ended 2021 in stunning fashion
The labour market update from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), for December 2021, is a stellar outcome, providing a healthy base as Australia carves through some difficult times in early 2022.
However, it seems at odds with the economic ‘feel’ of the nation. CreditorWatch data for the same month has highlighted there is a considerable amount of flux going on below the economic surface. Key industries including accommodation and food services and construction are under the pump and face a challenging March 2022 quarter.
Sectors such as food and recreation are two prominent examples of SMEs on the frontline of a ‘shadow COVID lockdown’ where people are voluntarily isolating and thus Labour Force updates for January and beyond may not be so crash hot. Likewise, as the construction industry awakens from its customary holiday season slumber, it will be a key area of the economy to watch.
If businesses can push through the heavy economic burdens they’re facing in early 2022, the prospects for growing Australia’s economic activity are much stronger than they were at the beginning of 2021.
CreditorWatch Chief Economist