Labour market remains (very) tight – UOB

The latest jobs report in Australia has revealed a decrease in the unemployment rate to 3.5%, which is around a 50-year low. This figure is down from 3.7% in January and against expectations of 3.6%. The employment rate has also seen an increase of 64,600 people in February, compared to a revised fall of 10,900 people (11,500 previously). The rise in full time employment has contributed significantly to the increase in employment figures, growing by 74,900, while part-time employment decreased by 10,300.

A resilient economy

The latest jobs data underscores the economy’s resilience, with labour market strength being a key factor. It is this strength that has brought confidence to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) that the economy can avoid a recession, despite the aggressive monetary tightening cycle. The RBA expects unemployment to maintain at around 3.5% to 3.6% through mid 2023.

Positive market impact

Following the announcement of the latest jobs data, positive effects on the financial markets in Australia have been seen, with shares in mining companies such as Fortescue Metals Group and Rio Tinto hitting record highs. Contributing to this has been the rise in demand for resources from key trading partners such as China, which have been able to manage the pandemic better than some other countries.

Confidence in the economy

The positive jobs report has brought about a level of confidence in Australia’s economic future. The country has been performing better than many expected in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, and there is a growing belief within the business community that the economy will continue to perform well. The nation has been able to manage the pandemic due to factors such as a relatively low population density, strong healthcare system, and aggressive response from the government.

Impact on the Reserve Bank of Australia

The strength of the labour market has been a key factor for the RBA , which has indicated that its confidence in the economy has been boosted by the latest jobs report. However, financial stability is also a crucial factor, and the current issues facing the banking sector in the US and Europe will be taken into consideration by the RBA when deciding on monetary policy.

A cautious approach

While the latest jobs report is positive news, the RBA has announced that it will be taking a cautious approach to setting interest rates. The banks are currently held at a record low of 0.1%, and while the central bank has indicated that an increase is likely, it will only happen when there is a consistent increase in wages and inflation.

The impact on investors

The positive jobs report has created favourable economic conditions and is likely to provide a positive impact on investors. The rise in demand for resources from key trading partners will result in increasing prices, which is an indication of the strength of the Australian economy. Investors would do well to maximise the benefits of the economic situation and capitalise on the growth in the stock markets.

Potential challenges

While the Australian economy is expected to perform well, there are factors that can destabilise the economy. One such issue is the threat of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases. Despite the country’s success in managing the pandemic, there is still a risk of a new outbreak with new strains of the virus. This could lead to the reintroduction of restrictions, which would destabilise the economy.

Another factor is the potential for trade tensions with key trading partners, particularly with China. Any disruption in trade could have a significant impact on Australia’s economic performance.


The latest jobs report in Australia has brought positive news and sparked confidence in the economy. The strength of the labour market has been a key factor for the RBA’s confidence in managing the economy, and investors can expect favourable market conditions. While there are potential challenges impacting economic performance, there is a growing belief that the country can manage these challenges and continue to perform well.


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