6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Aug 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/09/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY AUGUST 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 27,100 persons in August 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 2,200 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.6 per cent;
  • the participation rate increasing by 0.1 percentage points to 65.2 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio increasing by 0.1 percentage points to 61.5 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 307,300 persons (or 2.6 per cent). Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.6 percentage points to 61.5 per cent, the highest it has been since February 2013.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 27,100 persons between July 2017 and August 2017. This represents an increase of 0.22 per cent, which is above the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16 per cent.

Trend full-time employment increased by 21,500 persons in August, while part-time employment also increased by 5,600 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 253,300 more persons employed full-time and 54,000 more persons employed part time. The part-time share of employment decreased 0.4 percentage points over the last 6 months, from 31.9 per cent to 31.5 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.9 million hours (or 0.23 per cent) in August 2017, to 1,708.6 million hours. Monthly hours worked have increased by 2.7 per cent over the past year, slightly above the estimate of employed persons. As a result, the average hours worked per employed person has also increased.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 5.6 per cent for the third consecutive month in August 2017, while the number of unemployed persons decreased by 2,200.

The quarterly trend underemployment rate remained steady at 8.7 per cent over the quarter to August 2017. Over the past year this rate increased by 0.2 percentage points, with the number of underemployed increasing by 52,200 persons. The quarterly underutilisation rate, which is a combined measure of unemployment and underemployment in the labour force, was 14.2 per cent in August 2017, down from 14.4 per cent in May 2017.

Graph 1, Unemployment, Underemployment and Underutilisation Rates, August 2007 to August 2017
Graph: Graph 1, Unemployment, Underemployment and Underutilisation Rates, August 2007 to August 2017


The trend participation rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 65.2 per cent in August 2017, the highest it has been since April 2012.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force has increased by 310,600 persons (2.5 per cent). This rate of increase is above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (325,500 persons, or 1.7 per cent).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population, increased by 0.1 percentage points to 77.5 per cent in August 2017.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased by 0.2 percentage points to 67.3 per cent in August 2017. The unemployment rate for this group decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 12.8 per cent in August 2017 and decreased by 0.2 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 54,200 persons from July to August 2017. Changes in the underlying composition of employment reflected an increase of 40,100 persons in full-time employment and a 14,100 increase in part-time employment. Since August 2016, full-time employment has increased by 251,200 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 74,500 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 6.1 million hours in August 2017 to 1,705.4 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased 0.2 per cent to 61.6 per cent in August 2017, representing an increase of 0.6 percentage points from the same time last year.

Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons, August 2007 to August 2017
Graph: Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons, August 2007 to August 2017


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.6 per cent in August 2017. The labour force participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 65.3 per cent.

The quarterly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.6 per cent. The quarterly underutilisation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 14.1 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In August 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory where employment decreased by 1,300 persons. The largest increases were in Queensland (up 10,600 persons) and New South Wales (up 8,000 persons).

Similarly, over the past year, increases in employment were also observed in all states and territories except Northern Territory (down 2,300 persons). The largest increases were in Victoria (up 96,800 persons), Queensland (up 87,200 persons) and New South Wales (up 62,800 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Tasmania (4.0 per cent), Queensland (3.7 per cent), Victoria (3.2 per cent) and Western Australia (2.6 per cent).

Increases in the trend unemployment rate were seen in the Northern Territory (up 0.2 percentage points) and the Australian Capital Territory (up 0.1 percentage points). The largest decreases were recorded in South Australia (down 0.2 percentage points) and Queensland (down 0.1 percentage points).

The quarterly trend underemployment rate recorded the largest increases in Tasmania (up 0.3 percentage points) and the Australian Capital Territory (up 0.2 percentage points). New South Wales and the Northern Territory recorded the largest decrease (both down 0.2 percentage points).

The trend participation rate increased in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 0.6 percentage points) and South Australia (down less than 0.1 percentage points). The largest increase was in Queensland (up 0.2 percentage points), followed by New South Wales, Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which all recorded increases of 0.1 percentage points.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 18,600 persons), followed by Queensland (up 16,700 persons) and New South Wales (up 12,900 persons).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Western Australia (up 0.5 percentage points). Queensland and South Australia recorded the largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (both down 0.5 percentage points), followed by Tasmania (down 0.3 percentage points).

The quarterly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate recorded the largest decreases in Western Australia (down 0.7 percentage points) and New South Wales (down 0.5 percentage points). The Tasmania underemployment rate increased by 1.7 percentage points, which followed a 1 percentage point decrease in the previous quarter.

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

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
July
August
July
August
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.9
4.9
5.0
5.0
Victoria
6.1
6.1
6.1
6.1
Queensland
6.1
6.0
6.2
5.7
South Australia
6.3
6.1
6.2
5.7
Western Australia
5.6
5.5
5.4
5.9
Tasmania
6.0
6.1
6.3
6.0
Northern Territory
3.5
3.6
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.6
4.7
np
np
Australia
5.6
5.6
5.6
5.6

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