Australia’s record hiring spree may be about to ramp up even more

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  • Australia added over 400,000 jobs in 2017, the largest increase over a calendar year on record.
  • The employment index in the NAB’s monthly business survey jumped to the highest level on record in February, suggesting that strong hiring levels will likely continue.
  • With strong levels of population growth, elevated hiring levels will need to continue to help lower unemployment and lift wage pressures.

Australian employment growth roared back to life in 2017, adding over 400,000 jobs, the most over a calendar year on record.

After such a stellar result, few expect hiring of that magnitude to arrive in the year ahead, even with the prospects for firmer economic growth.

However, don’t write off the Australian jobs juggernaut just yet.

If the companies interviewed by the National Australia Bank (NAB) as part of its monthly business survey are anything to go by, employment growth may be about to go into overdrive.

In its latest report for February, the NAB’s employment index soared to +16 points from +6 a month earlier, leaving it at the highest level ever recorded in the two-decade history of the survey.

While he admits the employment index has overstated total employment growth in Australia over the last year, Alan Oster, Chief Economist at the NAB, says the latest reading suggests hiring levels will likely remain elevated in the months ahead.

“If the surge in the employment index is maintained you would expect to see jobs growth of around 27,000 per month,” he says.

“While this is below the average monthly growth rate in jobs recorded by the ABS over the last twelve months, the bottom line is that strong jobs growth will not…

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