6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Nov 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/12/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY NOVEMBER 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 22,200 persons in November 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 2,900 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.4 per cent;
  • the participation rate increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 65.4 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 61.8 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 371,000 persons (or 3.1 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 0.9 percentage points to remain at 61.8 per cent for the second month in a row, the highest rate since June 2012.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 22,200 persons between October and November 2017. This represents an increase of 0.18 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 15,300 persons in November, and part-time employment increased by 6,900 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 308,200 more persons employed full-time and 62,700 more persons employed part time. The part-time share of employment decreased 0.5 percentage points over the past 12 months, from 32.0 per cent to 31.5 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.8 million hours (or 0.22 per cent) in November 2017, to 1,734.4 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 3.4 per cent over the past year, slightly above the increase in employed persons. As a result, the average hours worked per employed person has also increased slightly, to around 140.1 hours per month, or around 32.3 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 5.4 per cent for the second consecutive month in November 2017, after the October figure was revised down to 5.4 per cent. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 2,900. The trend unemployment rate is now at its lowest point since December 2012.

The quarterly trend underemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 8.4 per cent over the quarter to November 2017. Over the past year this rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points, from a historical high of 8.7 per cent in February 2017, with the number of underemployed decreasing by 1,100 persons. The quarterly underutilisation rate, which is a combined measure of unemployment and underemployment in the labour force, was 13.8 per cent in November 2017, down from 14.1 per cent in August 2017.

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


The trend participation rate increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 65.4 per cent in November 2017, the highest it has been since October 2011. The trend female participation rate was at a historical high of 60.1 per cent.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force has increased by 351,000 persons (2.8 per cent). This rate of increase is above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (322,700 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, increased by 0.1 percentage points to 77.8 per cent in November 2017. This is the highest rate recorded and indicates the 15-64 year old population is participating in the labour market at a record high level.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds remained steady for a second consecutive month at 67.3 per cent in November 2017. The unemployment rate for this group decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 12.3 per cent in November 2017 and decreased by 0.7 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 61,600 persons from October to November 2017 (following a combined increase of 28,600 over the preceding 2 months). The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 41,900 persons in full-time employment and a 19,700 increase in part-time employment. Since November 2016, full-time employment has increased by 304,600 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 78,700 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 9.8 million hours in November 2017 to 1,740.9 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased 0.2 per cent to 61.9 per cent in November 2017, representing an increase of 0.9 percentage points from the same time last year.

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


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady for the third consecutive month at 5.4 per cent in November 2017. The participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 65.5 per cent.

The quarterly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.3 per cent. The quarterly underutilisation rate decreased by 0.3 percentage points to 13.7 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In November 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except for South Australia and Tasmania where employment decreased by 400 and 300 persons respectively. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 8,300 persons) and Queensland (up 6,200 persons).

Similarly, over the past year, increases in employment were also observed in all states and territories except Northern Territory (down 2,900 persons). The largest increases were in Queensland (up 113,000 persons), New South Wales (up 111,000), Victoria (up 94,200 persons) and Western Australia (up 36,700 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Queensland (4.8 per cent) followed by Australian Capital Territory (3.9 per cent), and Victoria (3.0 per cent).

Increases in the trend unemployment rate were seen in the Northern Territory and Western Australia (both up 0.2 percentage points). The largest decreases were recorded in the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 percentage points) followed by both New South Wales and Victoria (both down 0.1 percentage points).

The quarterly trend underemployment rate increased in Tasmania (up by less than 0.1 percentage points), remained the same in New South Wales at 7.9 per cent and decreased in all other states and territories. Western Australia and South Australia recorded the largest decreases (down 0.5 percentage points) followed by the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory (both down by 0.2 percentage points).

The largest increase in the trend participation rate was in the Northern Territory (up 0.4 percentage points), followed by Western Australia and the Australian Capital Territory, which both recorded increases of 0.2 percentage points.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 32,900 persons), followed by New South Wales (up 28,500 persons) and Western Australia (up 8,500 persons).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Western Australia (up 0.6 percentage points) followed by South Australia (up 0.3 percentage points). Tasmania and Victoria recorded the largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate (both down 0.2 percentage points), followed by Queensland (down 0.1 percentage points).

The quarterly seasonally adjusted underemployment rate recorded the largest decreases in Tasmania (down 0.9 percentage points) followed by South Australia (down 0.8 percentage points). The New South Wales underemployment rate increased by 0.4 percentage points.

All states recorded increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate. The largest increase was in Western Australia (up 0.8 percentage points) followed by New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia (all up 0.4 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
October
November
October
November
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.7
4.6
4.6
4.6
Victoria
5.8
5.7
5.7
5.5
Queensland
5.8
5.8
5.9
5.9
South Australia
5.8
5.8
5.8
6.1
Western Australia
6.1
6.2
6.0
6.6
Tasmania
5.9
5.9
6.0
5.8
Northern Territory
4.4
4.6
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.9
3.8
np
np
Australia
5.4
5.4
5.4
5.4

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