Businesses have managed to shrug off the effects of four interest rate rises in six months, with business confidence rebounding to an eight year high.
According to the latest National Australian Bank survey, confidence is now back where it was in November.
The surge in confidence comes on the back of news that the number of positions advertised in newspapers and on the internet notched up their biggest gain on record with a 19.6 per cent surge.
The ANZ job advertisement survey, released yesterday, showed the number of jobs advertised had grown to an average of 159,778 per week – just 2.3 per cent lower than the same month a year earlier.
ANZ chief economist Warren Hogan said the data suggested the unemployment rate was likely to keep falling but noted that almost one third of Australian jobs are now part time and the total number of hours being worked across the economy remains about the same as this time last year.
"This indicates a significant degree of spare capacity ... still exists among current employees in terms of their potential to increase work hours," Mr Hogan said.
"Given the recent stellar performance of the labour market and the positive nature of current forward indicators of labour demand, we expect Australia can achieve 30,000 net new jobs this month (keeping unemployment stable at 5.3 per cent)."
But despite the influx of positive data, NAB’s chief economist Alan Oster said the Reserve Bank may hold fire on rates when they meet again in April.
“Our indicative timing for subsequent rate rises of 25 points in 2010 are May, August and November,” Mr Oster said.
“That very much reflects a timing which would allow the RBA to take onboard new information on inflation and activity. That said the exact timing will be very much driven by data.”
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