Swings and roundabouts leave rate watchers guessing

Elastic monthly jobs data mean a bird's eye view is the only way to get a sense of the economy’s direction. But wider data indicates another rate cut could be seen as early as next month.

The hugely volatile jobs data in Australia has been very hard to interpret with one month strong, the next one weak and the next one something in between. Cutting through the extreme volatility in the monthly data leads one to a point where it is fair to say that the labour market is soft and at some risk of weakening further.

At face value, the monthly jobs numbers are too volatile to gauge a trend. The 36,100 fall in employment in March followed a rise of 76,000 in February, a rise of 13,100 in January and a fall of 2,100 in December.

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