January 2019

   Economic update

Economy snapshot

This section reviews key statistical indicators of the Australian economy, including:

  • Gross Domestic Product (GDP)
  • Inflation - Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Wage Price Index (WPI)

Key economic indicators showed:

  • Strong GDP growth
  • Low inflation
  • Stable unemployment rate
  • Low wage price growth

GDP GROWTH

GDP decreased by 0.6 percentage points (seasonally adjusted) in the September quarter, bringing the annual GDP growth to September 2018 to 2.8%.

The September 2018 quarter results showed positive growth in 12 of the 20 industry divisions (seasonally adjusted).

The top three positive movers were:

  • Administrative and support services (up 2.8%)
  • Health care and social assistance (up 2.6%)
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services (up 2.5%)

The lowest three movers were:

  • Construction (down 2.2%)
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishing (down 1.6%)
  • Information media and telecommunications (down 1.1%)

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX

The all-groups CPI reported an increase of 0.5% in the December 2018 quarter, following a 0.4% increase in the September 2018 quarter [ABS catalogue 6401.0]. The annual change from December 2017 to December 2018 fell to 1.8%.

The most significant price rises in the quarter were:

  • Tobacco (up 9.4%)
  • Lamb and goat (up 6.8%)
  • Domestic holiday travel and accommodation (up 6.2%)

The most significant offsetting price falls in the quarter were:

  • Footwear for women (down 3.6%)
  • Audio, visual and computing equipment (down 3.3%)
  • Automotive fuel (down 2.7%)

CPI - % change by location

  December quarter 2018 (%) Year to December 2018 (%)
Sydney 0.4 1.7
Melbourne 0.5 2.0
Brisbane 0.5 1.5
Adelaide 0.5 1.6
Perth 0.5 1.3
Hobart 1.2 3.0
Darwin 0.2 1.2
Canberra 0.7 2.5
Weighted average of eight capital cities 0.5 1.8

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

EMPLOYMENT

In December 2018, the seasonally adjusted national unemployment figure decreased to 5% [ABS catalogue 6202.0]. The unemployment rate for males recorded a decrease to 4.9% (seasonally adjusted) while the rate for females decreased to 5% (seasonally adjusted).

The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate for December 2018 decreased slightly to 65.6%, with male and female participation rates recorded at 71% and 60.5% respectively.

There were 12,714,100 people employed nationally in December 2018, with full-time employment falling to 8,678,800 and part-time employment rising to 4,035,300 according to seasonally adjusted figures.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rates for each state in December 2018 were:

  • New South Wales - 4.3%
  • Victoria - 4.2%
  • Queensland - 6.1%
  • South Australia - 5.9%
  • Western Australia - 6.3%
  • Tasmania - 5.9%

Australian labour force data 2017-2018

  Unemployment rate (%) Participation rate (%)
December 2017 5.5 65.7
January 2018 5.5 65.8
February 2018 5.5 65.7
March 2018 5.5 65.6
April 2018 5.6 65.6
May 2018 5.4 65.5
June 2018 5.4 65.7
July 2018 5.3 65.6
August 2018 5.3 65.7
September 2018 5.0 65.5
October 2018 5.0 65.6
November 2018 5.1 65.7
December 2018 5.0 65.65

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

WAGE PRICE INDEX

The Wage Price Index [ABS catalogue 6345.0] measures changes in wage and salary costs for a selection of jobs, unaffected by changes in the quality and quantity of work performed.

Movements in total hourly rates of pay (excluding bonuses) - original figures

  September 2018 quarter % change September 2018 year % change
All employees in Australia 1.0 2.3
Private sector 1.0 2.2
Public sector 0.9 2.5
New South Wales 1.2 2.4
Victoria 0.8 2.5
Queensland 1.0 2.3
South Australia 0.9 2.2
Western Australia 0.6 1.6
Tasmania 1.4 2.6
Northern Territory 0.7 1.7
Australian Capital Territory 0.8 2.2
Mining 0.7 1.8
Manufacturing 0.9 2.3
Electricity, gas and water and waste services 1.1 2.7
Construction 0.5 1.9
Wholesale trade 0.7 2.2
Retail trade 1.1 1.8
Accommodation and food services 1.9 2.4
Transport, postal and warehousing 0.9 2.3
Information media and telecommunications 0.7 1.9
Financial and insurance services 0.4 2.3
Rental, hiring and real estate services 1.3 1.9
Professional, scientific and technical services 0.8 2.0
Administrative and support service 1.0 2.0
Public administration and safety 1.3 2.5
Education and training 0.7 2.7
Health care and social assistance 1.4 2.8
Arts and recreation services 1.5 2.3
Other services 1.5 2.4

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

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