(Image: AAP/Private Media)

The latest labour force data is a beautiful set of numbers. When the Reserve Bank published their various scenarios for the economic recovery, nobody thought the labour market would recover faster than even their most optimistic forecast. But here we are, with unemployment back down to a not-good but still good-in-context 6.6%.

Meanwhile, records are being set in labour force participation. A higher proportion of Aussies are now working or looking for work than at any time since records have been kept. Forget the discouraged worker effect we normally talk about after a recession. This is testament to the optimism people have about Australia’s economic recovery.

We can only hope the optimism survives the winding back of JobKeeper and JobSeeker payments in March.