Among the developed OECD countries, Australia has struggled the most from discounted minerals and commodities prices. Australia has avoided an economic slowdown thanks in some part to decent growth in the private housing and commercial construction sector. Skilled labor availability has picked up substantially, salaries and hourly wage rates are forecast to remain stable or moderate slightly for the 1st half of 2018. Unemployment in the construction sector is expected to increase marginally in the 1st half of 2018. Low commodity mineral prices will continue to stymie the Australian economy and construction sector. Australian construction inflation is forecast to be in the 1.6% to 2.1% range for the 1st half of 2018. Australia is seeing the start of a number of major highway, railroad, airports, port expansions and other infrastructure related projects going to the field in 2018 and beyond.
Australia’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 2.5% to 2.9% range in the 1st half of 2018. Unemployment in 2018 is forecast to be in the 5.5% to 5.9% range. It appears that the majority of the “mega” LNG projects are just about completed (Wheatstone, Pluto, Browse etc.), these projects employed tens of thousands of construction related workers.
New Zealand construction inflation is forecast to be in the 1.3% to 1.9% range for the 1st half of 2018. New Zealand’s GDP is forecast to grow in the 1.2% to 1.6% range in the 1st half of 2018, New Zealand unemployment in the 1st half of 2018 is forecast to be in the 4.9% to 5.4% range.