ABS reports more job growth in August

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported the August 2018 job figures today. The trend participation rate increased by 0.2% to 65.7% according to the statistics.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a country with a growing population, seasonally adjusted total employment increased by 44,000 people to 12,631,300. Part-time employment grew by 10,200 people to a total of 4,000,600 and full-time employment increased by 33,700 people to 8,630,700.

Unemployment increased 5,800 to 708,800. The number of unemployed people looking for full-time work decreased 7,500 to 494,800 and the number of unemployed people looking for part-time work increased 13,200 to 214,000.

The unemployment rate stayed at 5.3% and the monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 0.6 million hours (0.03%) to 1,750.9 million hours.

Whilst this isn’t boom-time job numbers, it is a solid result for an economy that is supposedly slowing down and the housing market is falling.

Employment remaining high is a key part of bank loans continuing to be repaid and arrears staying low, so the job numbers should perk up management of Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) who may be feeling under pressure from the Royal Commission.

It’s also good news for businesses counting on discretionary spending remaining strong, such as JB Hi-Fi Limited (ASX: JBH) and some of Wesfarmers Ltd’s (ASX: WES) subsidiaries.

Job-related businesses are clear beneficiaries from a strong job market like SEEK Limited (ASX: SEK).

Foolish takeaway

As long as the Australian job market remains strong, any type of economic downturn will be lessened. I’m pleased with these numbers and hopefully they continue to remain strong over the coming months.

However, if a recession were to hit Australian I’d definitely want to make sure I had this top stock in my portfolio.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Wesfarmers Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended SEEK 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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