It's now clear that the strong jobs growth the government has presided over since 2016 is coming to an end. The question is whether we're entering a significant slowdown, or merely reverting to the lower, but still solid, level of growth that preceded it. Neither outcome is good news for wages growth.

Last week's March jobs data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that trend employment increased by 14,000 in March. That's an increase of 0.11%, which was below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16%, and the lowest monthly growth rate observed since December 2016. In December 2017, the ABS recorded 25,000 new trend jobs. In January this year, 23,000, February 18,000. Now 14,000 -- the pattern is obvious. Trend full time jobs have fallen more noticeably -- from 16,600 last December to just 1,000 in March. Trend part time work has risen from 8,800 new jobs in December to 13,000 last month.