CANBERRA, AAP – Manufacturing is growing at is strongest in three years and showed no signs of slowing in the month following the demise of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.
“Instead the industry continued to grow and in fact lifted the pace of expansion in April,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said.
The Australian Industry Group performance of manufacturing index rose by a further 1.8 per cent to 61.7 in April.
This was the seventh consecutive month of recovery from the severe disruptions of COVID-19 in the middle of 2020 and was the index’s highest monthly result since March 2018.
All six manufacturing sectors covered by the index expanded.
“To date the sector as a whole has not been adversely affected by the stronger Australian dollar, although a number of businesses are keeping a close eye on where the currency goes from here,” Mr Willox said.
“That said, the further expansion of new orders in April is an encouraging pointer to continuing positive conditions over the next couple of months.”
The ANZ will also release its monthly job advertisement series for April on Monday, a pointer to future employment.
It will also be the first report since JobKeeper ended in March.
Treasury has forecast that up to 150,000 jobs could be lost as a result of the scheme ending.
However, job ads rose by a further healthy 7.4 per cent in March and to the highest level since November 2008, suggesting further sharp declines in the unemployment rate can be expected in coming months.
The jobless rate was 5.6 per cent in March, and at a time when Treasury was predicting it to reach 7.5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Greens are pushing the federal government to make billionaires and big corporations pay back their JobKeeper payments when they didn’t need them.
Greens leader Adam Bandt says billionaires like Gerry Harvey’s corporation received the subsidy yet paid dividends, executive bonuses and was otherwise profitable when the scheme was aimed at businesses that were in trouble during the recession.
A Parliamentary Budget Office costing, commissioned by the Greens, shows that 65 of these big corporations would return $1.1 billion to the public purse if effectively forced to return JobKeeper.
“While everyone else was suffering during the pandemic, billionaires and big corporations took government handouts and got even richer, Mr Bandt said.
“If you’re making enough money to buy a private jet or pay executive bonuses, then you can pay back JobKeeper.”
Mr Bandt will write next week to crossbench senators and MPs and Labor to ask for their support for the amendments to the budget.
CoreLogic will release its monthly home value index later on Monday.