6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Aug 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2016   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY AUGUST 2016


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 9,900 persons in August 2016, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 400;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.7 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining unchanged at 64.8 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 61.1 per cent.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 191,200 (or 1.6 per cent), slightly below the average percentage year-on-year growth over the last 20 years (1.8 per cent). Over the same period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population is, increased by 0.1 percentage points to 61.1 per cent.

In monthly terms, the trend employment increase of 9,900 persons between July and August 2016 represents a growth rate of 0.08 per cent, which remains below the monthly average over the past 20 years of 0.15 per cent. The rate of growth in employment has remained below this average for the past eight months.

Trend full-time employment decreased by 400 persons in August, reflecting continuing weak growth over 2016. Full-time employment has fallen by 21,500 persons since December 2015. By comparison, part-time employment has increased by around 105,300 persons over this same period, with its share of employment increasing from 31.1 per cent to 31.7 per cent.

Trend monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 1.7 million hours (0.1 per cent) in August 2016, to 1,657.1 million hours. This is the third consecutive increase in monthly hours worked in all jobs following five months of consecutive declines. Monthly hours worked is still around 5.7 million hours (0.3%) below the series peak of 1,662.8 million hours in December 2015.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 5.7 per cent in August 2016. Over the past year, unemployment has decreased by 42,400 persons.

The trend underemployment rate, which is available on quarterly basis, increased by 0.1 percentage points since May 2016 to a series high of 8.6 per cent in August 2016, reflecting an increase of 15,400 persons. This was mainly driven by a 12,500 increase in the number of underemployed males since May 2016, with their underemployment rate up 0.2 percentage points to a further series high of 7.1 per cent, which is partly related to the increasing shift towards part-time employment. Over the past year, underemployment has increased by 37,700 persons.

Graph 1, Underemployment and unemployment rates, Persons - August 2006 to August 2016
Graph: Graph 1, Underemployment and Unemployment Rate—August 2006 to August 2016


The trend participation rate remained at 64.8 per cent. Over the past year, the labour force, which includes both employed and unemployed persons, increased by 148,800 persons.

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 decreased by 3,900 persons from July to August 2016. Full-time employment increased by 11,500 persons, while part-time employment decreased by 15,400 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 3.9 million hours (0.2%) in August 2016, to 1,656.0 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 percentage points, to 61.1% in August 2016.

Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons - August 2006 to August 2016
Graph: Graph 2, Employment to population ratio, Persons—August 2006 to August 2016


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points in August 2016 to 5.6 per cent, while the labour force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 64.7 per cent.

Since May 2016, the seasonally adjusted underemployment rate has increased by 0.3 percentage points to 8.7 per cent.


STATE ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

The largest increases in trend employment in August 2016 were seen in Victoria (up 8,200 persons) and New South Wales (up 1,600 persons). The largest decrease was in Western Australia (down 1,800 persons).

In relative terms, the Australian Capital Territory had the strongest growth (0.4 per cent), followed by Victoria (0.3 per cent). The decrease in employment in Western Australia equates to around 0.1 per cent.

The trend unemployment rates remain unchanged in most states. South Australia and Northern Territory both recorded decreases of 0.1 percentage points, while in Western Australia and Tasmania the unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points.

The largest trend participation rate increases were in Australian Capital Territory (0.2 percentage points) and Victoria (0.1 percentage point). There were decreases in Northern Territory and Western Australia. The rest of the states were unchanged.

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 are not published for the two territories.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, Victoria and Tasmania both had increases in employment in August 2016. The largest employment increase was in Victoria (up 20,700 persons). The largest decreases were in New South Wales (down 9,200 persons), and Queensland (down 7,600 persons).

Decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were seen in Victoria (down 0.3 percentage points) and New South Wales (down 0.1 percentage points). Increases were recorded in Tasmania (up 1.0 percentage point to 7.2 per cent), South Australia (up 0.5 percentage points to 6.8 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 per cent).

The large increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Tasmania reflected a considerable change in the participation rate for Tasmania (up 0.9 percentage points), with both employment and unemployment increasing.

Other notable increases in participation were also seen in South Australia (up 0.2 percentage points), and Victoria (up 0.1 percentage points). There were decreases in the seasonally adjusted participation rates in Western Australia (down 0.4 percentage points), New South Wales (down 0.3 percentage points), and Queensland (down 0.2 percentage points).

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories - July 2016 and August 2016

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
July
August
July
August
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.1
5.1
5.2
5.0
Victoria
5.7
5.7
5.8
5.5
Queensland
6.3
6.3
6.1
6.2
South Australia
6.7
6.6
6.3
6.8
Western Australia
6.1
6.2
6.3
6.3
Tasmania
6.6
6.7
6.3
7.2
Northern Territory
3.6
3.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.6
3.6
np
np
Australia
5.7
5.7
5.7
5.6

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