It was just yesterday that we reported analysts at ANZ Bank saw the Reserve Bank of Australia staying put on interest rates going into the near future.
However, this view may be starting to change following the release of what are widely considered to be poor labour market statistics.
The unemployment rate rose to 5.2% in February, from 5.1% in the pervious month.
Headline employment fell 15.4K in February.
And with jobs growth at a virtual standstill, the unemployment rate is being contained by a significant fall in the participation rate, from 2011’s peak of 65.8% of the workforce in Q1 2011, to 65.2% in the first two months of 2012.
ANZ Bank suggest the RBA may have to re-look at interest rates as a result:
"Today’s data increases the probability that the RBA will find reason to cut interest rates in May. The RBA has indicated that it will review the cash rate based on incoming data on the Australian economy and financial conditions.
"While the GDP data for Q4 were disappointing but they are, in many respects, too dated for the forward-looking purposes of the RBA.
"In any event, there is still that huge pipeline of engineering construction work known to be in train for 2012 and beyond. In the short term, the labour market is of the greatest concern.
"The unemployment rate has been stable for many months, but with a falling participation rate and close to zero net jobs growth, the labour market is clearly less ‘tight’ than a headline unemployment rate of 5.2% would normally suggest. This may prompt the RBA to act before the unemployment begins to drift higher as has been widely expected."