AUSTRALIA’S labor force is set to grow by an average of 1.2% in 2019, with the potential to rise by 2.1% in 2020.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said Friday it expects the growth rate to reach 3.1%.
It expects the population to increase by a further 2.2 million people in 2019 and by 3.3 million people by 2020.ABS data show the population of Australia is expected to reach 6.5 million in 2019.
The ABS said there were 1.6 million Australians aged 25 and over in employment in the past 12 months, a 2.7% increase from a year ago.
There were 2.9 million Australians in work in the 12 months to June.
The figures are below ABS projections of the population in 2020, and follow a number of reports indicating Australia is headed for a population boom in the coming decades.
The report said a growing population is projected to increase the labour force by 1.3% in 2018, with employment growth of 1%.
The ABS also said there are expected to be 4.2m Australians in the workforce by 2020, with an average wage of $40,000.
Income growth will be strong in the short term, with average income growth of 4.6%, with the median income expected to rise to $54,000 in 2020 from $50,000 a year earlier.
The forecast of 2.5% growth for employment in 2019 is the highest since April.
The Labor Party is predicting a 1.7 percentage point increase in the number of people employed in 2019 from 6.3m in 2019 to 7.3million.
The Coalition is forecasting 2.4% growth, with 5.9m Australians employed.
The Liberal Party said in a statement the ABS data is a “wake-up call” to the Coalition, which it said is ignoring the reality of our economic challenges and failing to address the skills shortages facing the Australian workforce.
“It’s a clear sign of what we need to do in order to secure our future,” it said.
“In addition, the ABS also shows Australia is in the midst of a labour market that is set for an increase in labour force participation, as more Australians look for work.”
The ABS is not expecting the workforce to grow too fast in 2019 because of an ageing population and the government’s plan to invest $1.3 trillion in infrastructure.
The data also shows that the number who have been unemployed for six months or more in 2019 fell by 5.4%.