There were three messages in the confusing jobs data for August that emerged yesterday from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The headline number was dramatically better than any economist, or even the Reserve Bank or Treasury, had predicted.
The first is, despite the claims from the media and the Morrison government that the Andrews government's lockdown was some profound act of economic vandalism, Victoria’s jobless rate only moved up to 7.1% from 6.8%, with 42,000 jobs lost in that state last month. Hours fell by 4.8% in Victoria, compared with a 1.8% rise across the rest of Australia.
Now there may well be another big fall in Victoria in the September data as the numbers catch up. There will be a clue in the ABS’s next payroll jobs and wages data next week.