6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Dec 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/01/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY DECEMBER 2016


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 8,200 persons in December 2016, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increased by 3,200;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.7 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 64.6 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 60.9 per cent.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 85,600 (or 0.7 per cent), which is less than half the size of 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 0.4 percentage points to 60.9 per cent.

In monthly terms, the trend employment increase of 8,200 persons between November and December 2016 represents an increase of 0.1 per cent, remaining below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.15 per cent.

Trend full-time employment increased by 7,000 persons in December. Since December 2015, full-time employment has fallen by 35,300 persons. In comparison, part-time employment has increased by 120,900 persons over the same period, with its share of employment increasing from 31.1 per cent to 31.9 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.3 million hours in December 2016, to 1,669.1 million hours, with an increase across both full-time (1.9 million hours) and part-time workers (0.4 million hours).

The trend unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7 per cent in December 2016. Over the past year, the unemployment rate has decreased by 0.1 percentage points, with unemployment decreasing by 11,900 persons.

The trend participation rate remained unchanged at 64.6 per cent in December 2016. Over the past year, the labour force, which includes both employed and unemployed persons, increased by 73,700 persons (0.6 per cent). This was below the rate of increase in the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (1.5 per cent), resulting in the participation rate decreasing 0.5 percentage points, down from 65.1 per cent.

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (though not entirely) for the effects of an ageing population in the older age groups, remained unchanged at 76.8 per cent. Over the year to December 2016 it decreased 0.3 percentage points from 77.2 per cent. The 15-64 year old labour force increased by 70,600 persons, while the Civilian Population increased by 167,800 over the same 12 month period.

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 13,500 persons from November to December 2016. Full-time employment increased by 9,300 persons, while part-time employment increased by 4,200 persons. Since December 2015, seasonally adjusted full-time employment decreased by 34,000 persons, while part-time employment increased by 125,500 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 6.9 million hours in December 2016, to 1,670.4 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 60.9 per cent in December 2016. Over the past 12 months, the employment to population ratio decreased by 0.4 percentage points.

Graph 1. Employment to population ratio, Persons, December 2006 to December 2016

Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, December 2006 to December 2016
Graph: Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, December 2006 to December 2016


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points in December 2016 to 5.8 per cent, and the labour force participation rate also increased, by 0.1 percentage points, to 64.7 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Trend employment in New South Wales was unchanged in December 2016. Increased employment was seen in the other States and Territories with the largest increase in Victoria (up 5,200 persons). In percentage terms, Northern Territory (0.7 per cent) and Victoria (0.2 per cent) had the strongest growth.

The trend unemployment rate increased in Western Australia and Victoria by less than 0.1 percentage points.

The largest trend participation rate increase was in Northern Territory (up 0.5 percentage points). Victoria, Western Australia and Australian Capital Territory also recorded slight increases (up less than 0.1 percentage points).


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 13,600 persons). Queensland recorded the largest decrease (down 13,700 persons). Over the past year, Queensland employment has declined by 30,900. The other decrease in employment in December 2016 was in Western Australia (down 7,900 persons).

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in New South Wales (up 0.3 percentage points) and Queensland (up 0.2 percentage points). There were decreases in Western Australia (down 0.3 percentage points) and South Australia (down 0.2 percentage points).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rates was observed in Victoria (up 0.2 percentage points). There were decreases in Western Australia (down 0.6 percentage points) and Queensland (down 0.3 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
November
December
November
December
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.0
5.0
4.9
5.2
Victoria
5.9
5.9
6.0
6.0
Queensland
6.0
6.0
6.0
6.2
South Australia
6.7
6.8
7.0
6.8
Western Australia
6.6
6.7
6.9
6.6
Tasmania
6.4
6.4
6.3
6.4
Northern Territory
3.6
3.6
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.7
5.7
5.7
5.8

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