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Referendum day employment boost to show up in jobs data

Poppy Johnston -

The Indigenous voice referendum may show up in the official labour force numbers as a one-off boost to employment.

Hiring may have picked in October to staff voting booths as Australians voted on a proposal to enshrine an Indigenous voice in the constitution.

The jump in employment was detected by the Australian Bureau of Statistics' payroll data and Commonwealth Bank economist Belinda Allen said it could also influence the official labour force data due on Thursday.

Ms Allen said there were other factors that could complicate the October numbers, including school holidays, which could shift employment numbers around as people adjust the timing of starting a new job.

The bank's economic team is expecting a 20,000 increase in employment in October, to follow a smaller 7000 lift in month prior.

The jobless rate is likely to tick higher, to 3.7 per cent from 3.6 per cent in September, based on CBA's best guess.

AMP economists expect the unemployment rate to lift to 3.7 per cent.

So far, the jobs market has proved remarkably resilient to a period of below trend growth as the economy responds to higher interest rates and a bout of high inflation.

But forward-looking data sources such as job ads and vacancies suggest the labour market is starting to ease.

Job advertisements numbers tracked by Jobs and Skills Australia - a federal government body - fell 3.8 per cent in October, though numbers remain elevated compared to pre-pandemic.

Poppy Johnston


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