Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
(Australian Associated Press)
There are further signs Australia’s record-breaking run of employment growth will continue as the International Monetary Fund upgraded the economy’s growth forecast for this year.
In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF lifted Australia’s growth forecast to three per cent for 2018 from its previous 2.9 per cent prediction made in February, while keeping 2019 at 3.1 per cent.
This is a marked improvement on the 2.4 per cent growth result in 2017.
“What it shows is the government’s plan to create a stronger economy is working,” Treasurer Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
He said a stronger economy delivers the essential services on which Australians rely, and has produced 1100 jobs a day over the past 12 months.
“It’s a stronger economy that ensures that we continue on our credible path back to a budget balance projected for 2021,” he said.
If the IMF is correct, this should help the Australian jobless rate ease to 5.2 per cent in 2019.
That compares with 5.6 per cent now and what the Reserve Bank believes is “full employment” at five per cent.
Official labour force figures for March will be released on Thursday.
Economists are forecasting an employment increase of 20,000, which would be the 18th consecutive monthly job gain.
The unemployment rate is seen easing to 5.5 per cent.
New figures on Wednesday suggested this run of employment gains has further to go.
Data from the Department of Jobs and Small Business shows job advertisements on the internet rose by a further 0.9 per cent in March to be 12.1 per cent higher than a year earlier.
Job ads rose in seven of the eight occupational groups monitored by the department during March, while they increased in all states and territories over the past year.
More broadly, the IMF said the global economy is enjoying its strongest performance since the start of the decade.
It said the global upswing that began in mid-2016 has become broader and stronger, led by faster growth in the Euro area, Japan, China and the US.
“The partial recovery in commodity prices should allow conditions in commodity exporters to gradually improve,” the Washington-based institution said.
The IMF stuck to its most recent world growth forecast of 3.9 per cent for both this year and next, the strongest pace since the growth spike which initially followed the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.