6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/05/2017   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY APRIL 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 19,900 persons in April 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 1,700 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.8 per cent;
  • the participation rate increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 61.0 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 152,100 persons (or 1.3 per cent), which remains below the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (1.8 per cent). Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (15 years and over) is, decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 61.0 per cent.

In monthly terms, the trend employment increase of 19,900 persons represented an increase of 0.16 per cent, which was slightly above the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.15 per cent.

Trend full-time employment increased by 12,300 persons in April, while part-time employment increased by 7,500 persons. Compared to a year ago, there were 49,300 more persons employed full-time and 102,800 more persons employed part time. The part-time share of employment in the past 12 months increased from 31.5 per cent to 31.9 per cent, and remains close to the historical high of 32.0 per cent in November 2016.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased slightly (by 2.0 million hours) in April 2017, to 1,663.6 million hours.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.8 per cent in April 2017. It has been relatively stable, at around 5.7 to 5.8 per cent, for almost 18 months. The most recent period with similar stability was May 2007 to October 2008, when it remained at around 4.2 to 4.3 per cent.

Over the past month, unemployed persons increased by 1,700. This was the seventh consecutive increase since September 2016, reflecting an increase of 26,400 unemployed persons.

The trend participation rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8 per cent in April 2017.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year the labour force increased by 172,400 persons (1.4 per cent). This was below the rate of increase in the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (310,300 persons, or 1.6 per cent).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population in the older age groups, increased by 0.1 percentage point to 77.1 per cent in April 2017.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased 0.1 percentage points to 66.8 per cent in April 2017, though still 0.4 percentage points lower than it was in April 2016. The unemployment rate for this group remained unchanged at 13.0 per cent in April 2017, having increased 0.6 percentage points over the year.

The trend series smooths the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 37,400 persons from March to April 2017. Changes in the underlying composition of employment reflected a decrease in full-time employment of 11,600 persons, and a 49,000 increase in part-time employment. Since April 2016, seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 80,700 persons, while part-time employment increased by 111,300 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased slightly in April 2017, by 4.3 million hours, to 1,659.5 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 per cent to 61.1 per cent in April 2017, unchanged from this time last year.

Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, April 2007 to April 2017
Graph: Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, April 2007 to April 2017


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 per cent in April 2017 to 5.7 per cent, and the labour force participation rate remained steady at 64.8 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In April 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except for South Australia (down 600) and the Australia Capital Territory (down 200). The largest increases were in Queensland (up 6,600 persons) and Victoria (up 6,500 persons).

Increases in employment were also observed in all states and territories over the past 12 months, with the largest increase in Victoria (up 100,100 persons), followed by Queensland (up 14,500 persons) and the Northern Territory (up 9,100 persons).

The trend unemployment rate remained steady in most states and territories from March to April 2017. Western Australia recorded a decrease of 0.1 percentage point to 6.1 per cent. South Australia recorded the highest trend unemployment rate with an increase of 0.1 percentage point to 7.0 per cent.

The trend participation rate increased in the Northern Territory (up 0.3 percentage points), Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania (up 0.1 percentage points). The Australian Capital Territory recorded a decrease in participation (down 0.2 percentage points).


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 18,600 persons), followed by Western Australia (13,200 persons), Queensland (9,800 persons) and New South Wales (up 9,700 persons). The only decrease in employment was in South Australia (down 5,000 persons).

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were observed in Western Australia (down 0.5 percentage points) and New South Wales (down 0.3 percentage points). The largest increase in the unemployment rate was observed in South Australia (up 0.3 percentage points).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate occurred in Victoria (up 0.3 percentage points), while the largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was observed in South Australia (down 0.2 per cent).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
March
April
March
April
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.0
5.0
5.0
4.7
Victoria
6.1
6.1
6.1
6.1
Queensland
6.4
6.4
6.3
6.3
South Australia
6.9
7.0
7.0
7.3
Western Australia
6.2
6.1
6.5
5.9
Tasmania
5.8
5.8
6.0
5.9
Northern Territory
3.5
3.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.6
np
np
Australia
5.8
5.8
5.9
5.7

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated