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Australia adds 14,000 new jobs in April

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released its monthly employment figures update for April 2018.

According to the ABS, the trend participation rate increased to another record high of 65.7% last month.

Bruce Hockman, the Chief Economist for the ABS, said “The labour force participation rate was the highest it has been since the series began in 1978, indicating increasing attachment to the labour force.”

National employment increased by around 14,000 with part-time employment increasing by 8,000 people and full-time employment increasing by 6,000 people in April 2018. The ABS made a point of saying that this continued the recent slowing of employment growth, particularly full-time employment growth.

Mr Hockman went on to say “It’s important to remember how much change there is in the labour market every month beneath a net increase of 14,000 people. It’s actually well over 300,000 people entering employment and more than 300,000 leaving employment in any given month.”

Over the past year trend employment increased by 355,000 people, or 2.9%. This is more than the average 2% year-on-year growth over the past 20 years.

There will be several groups of businesses pleased that the employment rate continues to go higher. Banks like Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) and Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) need their customers to remain employed so they keep paying the mortgage.

Retailers like Nick Scali Limited (ASX: NCK) and JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) need people to stay employed to continue their discretionary spending.

Private health insurers such as Medibank Private Ltd (ASX: MPL) and NIB Holdings Limited (ASX: NHF) hope that policyholders remain employed so that they pay their premiums and avoid the Medicare Levy Surcharge.

Foolish takeaway

An increase in employment is always a good thing, although it’s not too surprising considering the population is always increasing. However, the rising participation rate is a key sign that the country’s employment status is going well.

However, if the economy were to dip then this top stock's earnings could actually accelerate because it's positioned for recessions.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended NIB Holdings Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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