According to the research by ANZ, and somewhat contrary to mainstream belief, manufacturing saw the biggest employment growth of any industry over the year to November 2016, adding more than 100,000 new jobs.
Demonstrating the sheer strength of the manufacturing sector, the next best performer – education and training – added less than half that many jobs at around 50,000.
Rounding out the top five were public admin and safety, hospitality, and admin and support services.
Jobs were also added in the construction, mining, health care and social assistance, and transport sectors.
At the other end of the spectrum, retail trade was noticeably the worst performer, shedding in excess of 40,000 jobs over the year.
Finance saw the loss of well over 30,000 jobs, followed by agriculture and arts and recreation services.
Jobs were also lost in professional services, information media and a bulk category called ‘other services’. Utilities as well as rental and real estate services also saw a slight drop.
According to Jo Masters, senior economist at ANZ who conducted the research, the retail sector is unlikely to see an improvement, with difficult trading conditions likely to persist and even worsen over the coming years.
“The surge in foreign retailers opening brick and mortar stores continues to disrupt the retail landscape. With only 16 per cent of the world’s top 250 retailers currently with a physical presence in Australia, and the rumoured opening of Amazon this year, we expect pricing pressure to remain intense for at least the next year or two,” she wrote.
Ms Masters added that the result of weak sales growth in the retail sector is likely to cast a shadow over the rest of the Australian economy.
“Consumers will benefit from lower prices but ongoing weak retail price inflation will weigh on the broader inflation profile, leaving an uplift in wage growth as critical to underpinning a rise in core inflation.”