6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, August 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2018   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY AUGUST 2018


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 29,000 persons in August 2018, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 2,700 persons;
  • the unemployment rate decreasing to 5.3 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 65.6 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 62.1 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 303,100 persons (or 2.5 per cent), which was above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 2.0 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 0.5 percentage points to 62.1 per cent.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 29,000 persons between July and August 2018. This represents an increase of 0.23 per cent, which was above the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16 per cent.

Underpinning these net changes in employment is extensive dynamic change, which occurs each month in the labour market. In recent months there has generally been considerably more than 300,000 people entering employment, and more than 300,000 leaving employment. There is also further dynamic change in the hours that people work, which results in changes in the full-time and part-time composition of employment.

In net terms, trend full-time employment increased by 20,900 persons between July and August 2018, and part-time employment increased by 8,000 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 183,500 more persons employed full-time and 119,500 more persons employed part-time. This compositional shift led to an increase in the part-time share of employment over the past 12 months, from 31.5 per cent to 31.7 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.5 million hours (or 0.1 per cent) in August 2018, to 1,751.4 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 1.8 per cent over the past year and was a lower rate of growth than employment at 2.5 per cent. The average hours worked per employed person was 138.8 hours per month, or around 31.9 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate decreased to 5.3 per cent in August 2018. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 2,700 to 711,900 persons. Over the past year the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 9,200 persons.

The quarterly trend underemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 per cent over the quarter to August 2018. Over the past year this rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points, from 8.5 per cent in August 2017. The quarterly underutilisation rate, which is a combined measure of unemployment and underemployment in the labour force, was 13.6 per cent in August 2018, down 0.5 percentage points from 14.1 per cent in August 2017.

Graph 1, Unemployment, Underemployment and Underutilisation Rates, August 2008 to August 2018
Graph: Graph 1, Unemployment, Underemployment and Underutilisation Rates, August 2008 to August 2018


The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.6 per cent in August 2018, and was 0.4 percentage points higher than in August 2017. The female participation rate remained steady at 60.4 per cent and the male participation rate increased to 71.0 per cent.

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population remained steady at 78.0 per cent, the highest rate on record. Female working age participation was also the highest on record, at 73.2 per cent.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds (who are often referred to as the "youth" group in the labour market) increased by 0.1 percentage points to 68.1 per cent. The unemployment rate for this group decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 11.2 per cent in August 2018 and decreased by 1.4 percentage points over the year.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 293,800 persons (2.3 per cent). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (322,800 persons, or 1.6 per cent).

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 44,000 persons from July to August 2018. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 33,700 persons in full-time employment and an increase of 10,200 persons in part-time employment. Since August 2017, full-time employment increased by 202,100 persons, while part-time employment increased by 104,300 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 0.6 million hours (or 0.03 per cent) in August 2018 to 1,750.9 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 percentage points to 62.2 per cent in August 2018, and increased by 0.5 percentage points from the same time last year.

Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons, August 2008 to August 2018
Graph: Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons, August 2008 to August 2018


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3 per cent in August 2018. The participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 65.7 per cent.

The quarterly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 8.1 per cent. The quarterly underutilisation rate decreased 0.4 percentage points to 13.4 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In August 2018, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except for South Australia and the Northern Territory. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 9,700 persons), followed by Victoria (up 7,700 persons) and Queensland (up 7,000 persons).

Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 138,800 persons), Victoria (up 80,200 persons), Queensland (up 56,300 persons), and South Australia (up 14,500 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in New South Wales at 3.6 per cent, followed by the Northern Territory at 3.0 per cent and Victoria at 2.5 per cent. For most states and territories, year-on-year growth in trend employment was above their 20 year average, except for Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

The largest monthly trend unemployment rate change was in Queensland (up 0.1 per cent to 6.3 per cent).

The monthly trend participation rate increased in New South Wales (up 0.1 percentage point to 65.2 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.1 percentage point to 66.0 per cent). There were decreases in South Australia (down 0.1 percentage points to 62.5 per cent) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.1 percentage points to 70.4 per cent).


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in New South Wales (up 43,200 persons), followed by Queensland (up 11,900 persons). The largest decrease was in South Australia (down 8,400 persons).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in Western Australia (up 0.4 percentage points to 6.4 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.2 percentage points to 6.4 per cent). The largest decrease was in Tasmania (down 0.5 percentage points to 5.8 per cent) followed by New South Wales (down 0.2 percentage points to 4.7 per cent) and Victoria (down 0.2 percentage points to 4.8 per cent).

The seasonally adjusted participation rate increased in New South Wales (up 0.5 percentage points to 65.2 per cent), Western Australia (up 0.5 percentage points to 68.8 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.4 percentage points to 66.2 per cent). The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased in South Australia (down 0.6 percentage points to 62.2 per cent), Tasmania (down 0.5 percentage points to 61.1 per cent) and Victoria (down 0.3 percentage points to 65.4 per cent).

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
4.8
4.8
4.9
4.7
Victoria
5.0
4.9
5.0
4.8
Queensland
6.2
6.3
6.2
6.4
South Australia
5.6
5.7
5.7
5.7
Western Australia
6.2
6.2
6.0
6.4
Tasmania
6.0
6.0
6.3
5.8
Northern Territory
4.0
4.0
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.4
5.3
5.3
5.3

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