31 Jan 2011

Economic indicators likely to reveal slow job growth

7:19 am on 31 January 2011

The subdued economy is likely to see the creation of few jobs in the last three months of last year.

The Labour Cost Index and Quarterly Employment Survey, which measure wage growth and hours worked, are published on Tuesday, while the Household Labour Force Survey, which measures employment, is released on Thursday.

The market expects modest wage growth of under 2%, a modest increase in employment and for unemployment to remain close to its official level of 6.4%.

Firms have been upbeat about intending to hire more people, but Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenburg says a stagnant local economy and uncertain global environment may deter job growth.

He says the union is hearing warnings from employers about further redundancies in manufacturing, which will not show in the September quarter, but could well affect the next figures.

Mr Rosenburg says wage growth will be mixed, with skilled trades like builders likely to enjoy better offers as Queensland seeks builders for the reconstruction, while shop workers are unlikely to secure many concessions from squeezed retailers.

Real wages fell due to the spike in inflation, but the head of market economics at ANZ bank, Khoon Goh, says wage inflation is unlikely to surge.

He says there's likely to be more pressure on wages towards the end of the year once the economy further improves.