6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Mar 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/04/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MARCH 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increasing by 16,500 persons in March 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 5,800 persons;
  • the unemployment rate increasing to 5.9 per cent;
  • the participation rate increasing to 64.7 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 60.9 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 122,500 persons (or 1.0 per cent), which is a little over half 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 over 15 years is, decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 60.9 per cent.

In monthly terms, the trend employment increase of 16,500 persons between February 2017 and March 2017 represents an increase of 0.14 per cent. This was slightly below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.15 per cent.

Trend full-time employment increased by 15,600 persons in March, with part-time employment increasing by 900 persons. There are now 25,200 more persons employed full-time than there were a year ago, while part time employment has increased by 97,200 persons taking the part-time share of employment from 31.4 per cent to 31.9 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased slightly (by less than 0.4 million hours) in March 2017, to 1,668.5 million hours.

The trend unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 5.9 per cent in March 2017. Over the last month, unemployed persons increased 5,800, the sixth consecutive increase, reflecting an increase of 31,600 unemployed persons over the past six months.

The trend participation rate also increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.7 per cent in March 2017. Over the past year, the labour force, which includes both employed and unemployed persons, increased by 146,800 persons (1.2 per cent). This was below the rate of increase in the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (305,900 persons, or 1.6 per cent).

The 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 0.3 percentage points to 77.1 per cent in March.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased 0.1 percentage points to 66.7 per cent in March 2017. It decreased over the year to March 2017 by 0.4 percentage points. The unemployment rate for this group remained unchanged at 13.1 per cent from February to March 2017, having increased 0.9 percentage points over the year.

The trend series smoothes 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 60,900 persons from February to March 2017, an increase that was observed across the entire survey sample (including the incoming rotation group and the other seven rotation groups).

Changes in the underlying composition of employment in March 2017 reflected an increase in seasonally adjusted full-time employment of 74,500 persons, while part-time employment decreased by 13,600 persons. Since March 2016, seasonally adjusted full-time employment has increased by 67,800 persons and part-time employment has increased by 78,100 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.2 million hours in March 2017, to 1,664.2 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.2 per cent to 61.0 per cent in March 2017. Over the past 12 months, the employment to population ratio has decreased by 0.2 percentage points.

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


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady in March 2017 at 5.9 per cent, and the labour force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 64.8 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In March 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories, with the exception of New South Wales. The largest increase was in Victoria (up 5,100 persons) and Queensland (up 4,400 persons), while employment decreased in New South Wales by 1,000 persons.

Since February 2016, the largest increases in employment have been in Victoria (up 98,100 persons), followed by South Australia (up 11,100 persons) and the Northern Territory (up 9,200 persons). Over the same period, the largest decreases in employment were in Queensland (down 5,200 persons), New South Wales (down 4,300 persons) and Western Australia (down 3,700 persons).

The trend unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points in New South Wales (5.2 per cent) and Victoria (6.1 per cent), while the unemployment rate remained steady in Queensland (6.4 per cent) and South Australia (6.7 per cent). The unemployment rate declined in all other states and territories.

The trend participation rate increased in Queensland and South Australia (up 0.1 percentage points) and in the Northern Territory in (up 0.4 percentage points). New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory saw decreases of 0.1 percentage points.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Queensland (up 28,800 persons), followed by New South Wales (up 23,300 persons) and Victoria (up 9,800 persons). The only decrease in employment was in South Australia (down 2,000 persons).

Decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were observed in Queensland (down 0.3 percentage points) and New South Wales (down 0.1 percentage points). The largest increases in the unemployment rate were observed in South Australia and Western Australia (both up 0.4 percentage points).

Increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate occurred across all the states with the largest increases in Queensland and Tasmania (both up 0.4 percentage points), followed by Western Australia (up 0.3 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
February
March
February
March
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.1
5.2
5.2
5.1
Victoria
6.0
6.1
6.0
6.1
Queensland
6.4
6.4
6.6
6.3
South Australia
6.7
6.7
6.6
7.0
Western Australia
6.4
6.4
6.1
6.5
Tasmania
5.9
5.8
5.8
6.0
Northern Territory
3.5
3.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.8
5.9
5.9
5.9

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