economist Ivan Colhoun said the figures could belie the true state of the labour market. Despite what he called "tentative signs" that labour demand was stabilising, Colhoun said the market showed the same signs of life in early 2012 before weakening over the remainder of the year. He echoed Woods, saying companies were wary of taking on new expenses.
"Anecdotal evidence suggests that Australian firms are generally keeping a close eye on their bottom line, including labour costs. In addition, firms are already reporting that the degree of spare capacity in Australia’s labour market is greater than implied by the current 5.4% unemployment rate," Colhoun said.