6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Oct 2017 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/11/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY OCTOBER 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 20,000 persons in October 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 3,000 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.5 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 65.2 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio increasing by less than 0.1 percentage points to 61.7 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 346,700 persons (or 2.9 per cent), which is above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years of 1.9 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 0.8 percentage points to 61.7 per cent, the highest it has been since August 2012. The male employment to population ratio was 66.9 per cent in October 2017 while the female employment to population ratio reached a record high of 56.6 per cent.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 20,000 persons between September 2017 and October 2017, which represents an increase of 0.16 per cent. Underpinning this change, trend full-time employment increased by 16,000 persons in October, while part-time employment also increased by 4,000 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 289,200 more persons employed full-time and 57,400 more persons employed part time. The part-time share of employment decreased 0.3 percentage points over the last 6 months, from 31.8 per cent to 31.5 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.5 million hours (or 0.2 per cent) in October 2017, to 1,720.3 million hours. Monthly hours worked have increased by 3.1 per cent over the past year, above the estimate of employed persons. As a result, the average hours worked per employed person has increased slightly to around 139.8 hours per month, or around 32.3 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.5 per cent in October 2017. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 3,000, the eighth consecutive decrease.

The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.2 per cent in October 2017.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 335,100 persons (2.6 per cent). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (323,400 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 77.7 per cent in October 2017 from a revised estimate of 77.6 per cent in September 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. In particular, for 15-64 year olds, the females participation rate has increased from 50.2 per cent when the series began in February 1978, to a high of 72.7 per cent in October 2017.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds increased by 0.1 percentage points to 67.5 per cent in October 2017. The unemployment rate for this group decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 12.4 per cent in October 2017 and decreased by 0.6 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 3,700 persons from September to October 2017. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 24,300 persons in full-time employment and a 20,700 decrease in part-time employment. Since October 2016, full-time employment has increased by 297,900 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 57,800 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.6 million hours in October 2017 to 1,723.7 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 61.6 per cent in October 2017, but increased 0.8 percentage points from the same time last year.

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


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent in October 2017. The labour force participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points to 65.1 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In October 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except Tasmania (down 300 persons) and the Northern Territory (down 100 persons). The largest increases were in Queensland (up 7,900 persons) and New South Wales (up 6,700 persons).

Similarly, over the past year, increases in employment were also observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 3,000 persons). The largest increases were in Queensland (up 108,100 persons), New South Wales (up 90,900 persons) and Victoria (up 87,500 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Queensland (4.6 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (3.1 per cent) and Tasmania (3.0 per cent).

The largest increase in the trend unemployment rate was seen in the Northern Territory (up 0.2 percentage points). The largest decreases were recorded in South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory (both down 0.2 percentage points).

The trend participation rate decreased in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania (all down 0.1 percentage points). The largest increase was in the Australian Capital Territory (up 0.2 percentage points), followed by Queensland and Western Australia, which both recorded increases of 0.1 percentage points.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the only state with an increase in employment was Queensland (up 12,600 persons). The largest decrease was in Victoria (down 14,500 persons), followed by Western Australia (down 3,900 persons).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Tasmania (up 0.4 percentage points) followed by Western Australia (up 0.2 percentage points). The largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was recorded in Victoria (down 0.2 percentage points), followed by New South Wales and South Australia (both down 0.1 percentage points).

The only increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate occurred in Queensland (up 0.3 percentage points), while the largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were observed in Tasmania (down 0.7 percentage points) and Victoria (down 0.6 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
September
October
September
October
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.7
4.7
4.6
4.6
Victoria
5.9
5.9
6.0
5.7
Queensland
5.9
5.9
5.9
6.0
South Australia
5.8
5.6
5.8
5.8
Western Australia
5.7
5.8
5.7
5.9
Tasmania
6.0
6.0
5.8
6.1
Northern Territory
4.1
4.2
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.1
3.8
np
np
Australia
5.5
5.5
5.5
5.4

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