Jobless rate likely still below 4pct

Australia likely ended 2022 with another jobless rate below four per cent, according to financial market economists.

The December labour force report due on Thursday will follow several months of ultra-low unemployment rates reported by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The Reserve Bank of Australia will likely be watching the numbers for any signs that the currently tight labour market is easing, to help take pressure off wages and price growth.

But forward-looking jobs data released last week pointed to still-robust demand for workers despite signs the market is cooling from its peak.

Job vacancies as measured by the bureau showed more than 440,000 jobs were unfilled in November, which is still robust albeit around 23,000 less than in August.

SEEK job advertisement numbers also remain 34 per cent above pre-pandemic levels.

KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne said the tightness in the labour market and ongoing demand for workers, as well as sticky inflation as revealed in the November consumer price index, would add weight to the case for more policy tightening by the central bank in 2023.

"KPMG remains of the view that a further 25 basis point rise in the cash rate is likely in the first quarter of 2023 and then the RBA will hold rates for a period in order to assess the cumulative impacts of previous rate rises on the domestic economy," Dr Rynne said.

ANZ economists are forecasting a jobless rate of 3.4 per cent for December, as are experts from Westpac and National Australia Bank, which would be in line with the outcome in the previous data for November.

On Tuesday, ANZ and Roy Morgan will release a weekly consumer confidence survey, and the ABS will publish overseas arrivals and departures figures.

The bureau will also on Tuesday release a report on Australia's agricultural commodities for the 2021/22 financial year.

Also due this week from the bureau are building activity data on the value of work and dwellings commenced for the September quarter and the business turnover indicator for November.

Meanwhile, the Australian stock market is due to open flat to higher on Monday after Wall Street made small gains on Friday.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 112.84 points, or 0.33 per cent, to 34,302.81, the S&P 500 gained 15.89 points, or 0.40 per cent, at 3,999.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 78.05 points, or 0.71 per cent to end at 11,079.16.

The most traded Australian share market index futures contract added 35 points to 7310 on the weekend.

On Friday, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index marked its highest close since December 1, gaining 47.7 points, or 0.66 per cent, to close at 7328.1.

Over the week, the index gained 3.07 per cent in its best weekly performance since early November.

The broader All Ordinaries index rose 50.2 points, or 0.67 per cent, to 7540.1, a 3.17 per cent gain for the week.