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Spotlight on our job market

Craig James
Friday, November 09, 2018

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On Monday

The week kicks off when the Reserve Bank releases September data on credit and debit card lending. Unfortunately, there have been revisions to data, making it more difficult to uncover trends. But the evidence still seems to show that credit and debit cards are being actively used although account holders are keen to pay off outstanding credit card debt by the due date.

On Tuesday

National Australia Bank releases the October business survey. In September, the index of business confidence lifted by 6.2 points, while business conditions rose just under 1 point to a 3-month high. Notably the employment index posted a solid gain in the month. And the regular weekly reading on consumer confidence is published by ANZ and Roy Morgan. The key issues at present are petrol and home prices together with the volatility on the share market. Overall, Aussie consumers seem to be weathering the choppy conditions. Also released Tuesday is the broader array of lending figures. The data on home loans is provided but together with business, lease and personal loans. In August, total new lending commitments (housing, personal, commercial and lease finance) fell by 1.5% to $69.3 billion. And commitments were down by 4.2% on the year. In trend terms, lending rose for the fourth month, up by 0.4%. Of note, loans to buy new or used cars fell to 25-month lows in rolling annual terms in August.

On Wednesday

The main gauge of wages in Australia – the wage price index – is released. In the June quarter, wages rose by 0.6%, lifting the annual rate from 2% to 2.1%. And including bonuses, wages were up 2.5% on the year.

Overall we expect the tighter job market to show up in the September quarter with wages up 0.7% in the quarter to stand 2.4% higher for the year.

And Westpac and the Melbourne Institute release the November monthly reading on consumer confidence. This indicator is more of a check on the weekly consumer confidence survey.

On Thursday

The October labour force data is released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In September, jobs rose by just 5,600 but the unemployment rate hit a 6-year low of 5%. Based on an array of solid survey evidence, we tip a 25,000 lift in jobs in October, leaving the jobless rate unchanged at 5%.

And Reserve Bank Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle, delivers a speech. 

On Friday

The ABS releases the State Accounts – data that reveals how fast the state and territory economies grew over the past financial year.

Activity data in focus in the US & China

In the US and China next week, the ‘top shelf’ indicators of retail sales and industrial production are released.

On Monday

In China, with the Association of Automobile Manufacturers scheduled to release October sales figures. Vehicle sales are down almost 12% on a year ago. And also in China, the scheduled data are the lending and money supply indicators for October. Loans are growing at a solid 13.2% annual rate.

In the US, the week begins on Tuesday. The National Federation of Independent Business releases the Small Business Optimism index. In September, the index fell from a record high of 108.8 to 107.9. The usual weekly data on chain store sales is also released, with the October monthly federal budget figures.

On Wednesday

In the US, the October inflation data – the Consumer Price Index – will be issued. Inflation is creeping, not leaping higher. In fact the annual core rate (excludes food and energy) may have remained at 2.2% in the month. 

On Thursday

In China and in the US, retail sales data for October will be issued. There is also additional data in China in the shape of industrial production and investment figures. In the US, retail sales are growing at a 4.7% annual rate. In China, sales growth is almost double the US with sales up 9.2% over the past year.

And in the US, there’s data on export and import prices and two key manufacturing surveys – the Empire State and Philadelphia Federal Reserve surveys. The usual weekly data on claims for unemployment insurance is also expected. And data on home prices is slated for release in China.

On Friday

In the US, data on industrial production is issued together with capital flows data. Economists expect a 0.2% lift in October production.


Published: Friday, November 09, 2018

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