The ANZ Bank said bargaining power had shifted to employees as about 13,000 extra jobs were created in the month
It said job ads had not yet peaked and labour demand was increasing. Australians were also expected to continue moving to new jobs in search of better wages and conditions.
“We now forecast the unemployment rate to fall to the low threes (percentage) by late 2022 and underemployment to fall further,” ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch said.
Queensland’s unemployment rate is currently 4.4 per cent and the national level is slightly lower at 4.2 per cent. States like Western Australia had already fallen below the 4 per cent level.
“With Australia’s international borders reopening, the arrival of skilled migrants, students and backpackers will increase the supply of workers, but we don’t think this will prevent further labour market tightening or wage growth acceleration.
“New arrivals will also add to demand for goods and services in an already strong demand environment. As such, competition for labour is likely to remain elevated.”
Birch said this would mean higher wage growth as well as inflation during 2022
ACTU secretary Sally McManus said workers who had not received a pay rise were falling behind.
“A worker on $68 000 pa (average earnings for all workers) had their pay cut in real terms by $832 last year,” she said.
“(Treasurer) Josh Frydenberg has no plan and no ideas to fix wage suppression beyond hoping it will magically fix itself.”
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