Positive news on the employment front through this week – as Australia’s unemployment rate edged down for the second consecutive month to end 2019 at 5.1 per cent, its lowest level since March last year.
This improvement was driven by a substantial gain of almost 29,000 jobs over December.
CBA’s Gareth Aird said as the headline unemployment rate moved lower, “the labour market continues to defy the activity data,”
“The unemployment rate is now on a very gentle downward trend despite GDP growth running well below trend. Unemployment usually rises when the economy is running below trend.”
Mr Aird argued it was too early to say the RBA had finished cutting interest rates.
Mortgage brokers are also arranging more loans, with broking group AFG last week reporting a 19 per cent rise in loan values compared to the previous year.
It’s early days but, at the very least, the optimism that buoyed housing in the second half of 2019 seems to have carried into the new year, despite the hit to consumer confidence from the bushfires, ongoing sluggish wage growth and weak retail conditions.
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