6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, October 2018 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/11/2018   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY OCTOBER 2018


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 25,400 persons in October 2018, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 7,600 persons;
  • the unemployment rate decreasing to 5.1 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 65.6 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio increasing to 62.3 per cent.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 285,900 persons (or 2.3 per cent), which was above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 2.0 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 0.4 percentage points to 62.3 per cent.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 25,400 persons between September and October 2018. This represents an increase of 0.2 per cent, which was above the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16 per cent.

Underpinning these net changes in employment is extensive dynamic change, which occurs each month in the labour market. In recent months there has generally been considerably more than 300,000 people entering employment, and more than 300,000 leaving employment. There is also further dynamic change in the hours that people work, which results in changes in the full-time and part-time composition of employment.

In net terms, trend full-time employment increased by 22,900 persons between September and October 2018, and part-time employment increased by 2,500 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 202,500 more persons employed full-time and 83,400 more persons employed part-time. The part-time share of employment over the past 12 months has remained stable at 31.6 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 3.6 million hours (or 0.2 per cent) in October 2018 to 1,761.8 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 2.0 per cent over the past year, similar to the increase in employed persons (2.3 per cent). The average hours worked per employed person was 139.1 hours per month, or around 32 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate decreased to 5.1 per cent in October 2018. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 7,600 to 680,300 persons. Over the past year, the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 37,100 persons.

The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.6 per cent in October 2018, and was 0.2 percentage points higher than in October 2017. The female participation rate remained steady at 60.4 per cent and the male participation rate remained steady at 71.0 per cent.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 248,700 persons (1.9 per cent). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (325,600 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 remained steady at 78.0 per cent. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 percentage points, at 82.9 and 73.2 per cent respectively.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds (who are often referred to as the "youth" group in the labour market) decreased to 67.6 per cent. The unemployment rate for this group remained steady at 11.2 per cent in October 2018 and decreased by 1.2 percent 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 32,800 persons from September to October 2018. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 42,300 persons in full-time employment and a decrease of 9,500 persons in part-time employment. Since October 2017, full-time employment increased by 238,800 persons, while part-time employment increased by 69,400 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 6.1 million hours (or 0.3 per cent) in October to 1,764.4 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 percentage points to 62.3 per cent in October 2018, and increased by 0.5 percentage points from the same time last year.

Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, October 2008 to October 2018
Graph: Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, October 2008 to October 2018


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0 per cent in October 2018. The participation rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 65.6 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In October 2018, the largest increases in trend employment were in New South Wales (up 10,400 persons), followed by Victoria (up 6,100 persons) and Western Australia (up 2,800 persons).

Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states while decreases were seen in both of the territories. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 136,100 persons), Victoria (up 82,900 persons), Queensland (up 26,400 persons), and Western Australia (up 15,800 persons). The Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory saw a decrease in their employment over the year down 2,400 persons and 200 persons respectively. The highest annual employment growth rates were in New South Wales at 3.5 per cent, followed by Victoria at 2.6 per cent and South Australia at 1.5 per cent.

The monthly trend unemployment rate decreased in Victoria to 4.5 per cent and Tasmania to 5.6 per cent. The monthly trend unemployment rate remained unchanged in New South Wales (4.6 per cent), Queensland (6.2 per cent), South Australia (5.5 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (3.7 per cent) and Western Australia (5.9 per cent). It increased 0.2 percentage points in the Northern Territory to 4.6 per cent.

The monthly trend participation rate remained unchanged in New South Wales (65.2 per cent), Victoria (65.5 per cent) and Western Australia (68.5 per cent). The monthly trend participation rate decreased in the Northern Territory (down 0.4 percentage points to 74.7 per cent), the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 percentage points to 70.1 per cent), Queensland (down 0.1 percentage points to 65.6 per cent), South Australia (down 0.1 percentage points to 62.3 per cent), and Tasmania (down 0.1 percentage points to 60.8 per cent).


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in New South Wales (up 16,300 persons), followed by South Australia (up 7,700 persons). The largest decrease was in Victoria (down 3,500 persons), followed by Queensland (down 3,200 persons).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in New South Wales (up 0.1 percentage points to 4.4 per cent) and Queensland (up 0.3 percentage points to 6.3 per cent). The largest decrease was in Tasmania (down 0.4 percentage points to 5.3 per cent) followed by Western Australia (down 0.3 percentage points to 5.7 per cent).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in South Australia (up 0.5 percentage points to 62.5 per cent), followed by Tasmania (up 0.2 percentage points to 60.9 per cent) and New South Wales (up 0.2 percentage points to 65.2 per cent) . The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased in Victoria (down 0.2 percentage points to 65.4 per cent) and Western Australia (down 0.1 percentage points to 68.5 per cent).

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
4.6
4.6
4.4
4.4
Victoria
4.6
4.5
4.6
4.5
Queensland
6.2
6.2
6.0
6.3
South Australia
5.5
5.5
5.5
5.4
Western Australia
6.0
5.9
6.0
5.7
Tasmania
5.7
5.6
5.7
5.3
Northern Territory
4.3
4.6
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.2
5.1
5.0
5.0

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