6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/05/2016   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY APRIL 2016


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 4,100 persons in April 2016, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreased by 1,900;
  • the unemployment rate decreased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 5.7 per cent;
  • the participation rate decreased 0.1 percentage point 64.9 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio decreased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 61.1 per cent.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 6.1 per cent from April 2015 to August 2015, before declining over subsequent months to its current level at 5.7 per cent. Over this same period, the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population is, increased from 60.8 to 61.1 per cent and has remained relatively steady.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 228,900 (or 2.0%), which was above the average year-on-year growth over the last 20 years of 1.8%. Unemployment decreased by 37,200 (or 4.9%) from April 2015, with the trend unemployment rate decreasing from 6.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent over the same period. The participation rate and employment to population ratio both increased over this period (up 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points respectively).

The trend employment increase of 4,100 persons between March and April 2016 represents a monthly growth rate of 0.03%, which is below the monthly average over the past 20 years of 0.15%. While trend employment growth was above the 20 year average from December 2014 to December 2015, the rate of growth in employment for the past four months has been below this average.

The sustained trend in part-time employment growth continued from March into April, with the 10,500 increase being the eleventh consecutive month increase of more than 10,000 persons. In contrast, trend full-time employment decreased by 6,400 persons, its third consecutive monthly decrease.

Trend monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 5.6 million hours (0.3%) in April 2016 to 1,628.9 million hours. This was the fourth consecutive decrease in monthly hours worked in all jobs, which reflects a cumulative decrease of 16.2 million hours (1.0%) from the series peak at December 2015.

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

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for April 2016 was unchanged at 5.7 per cent and the labour force participation rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 64.8 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 10,800 persons, with a full-time employment decrease of 9,300 persons offset by an increase in part-time employment of 20,200.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 17.9 million hours (1.1%) in April 2016 to 1,613.8 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio remained steady at 61.1% in April 2016.

Employment to population ratio, Persons, April 2006 to April 2016
Graph: Employment to population ratio, Persons, April 2006 to April 2016



STATE ESTIMATES

Trend employment growth in April 2016 was strongest in Victoria (up 5,200 persons) and South Australia (up 1,100 persons).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest absolute increases in employment in April 2016 were in New South Wales (up 8,400 persons), South Australia (up 5,400 persons) and Western Australia (up 700 persons). The only State with a total decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was Queensland (down 5,600 persons).

The increases in trend unemployment rates were in Queensland (up 0.1 percentage point) and Northern Territory (up 0.1 percentage point). The decreases were in Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 percentage points) and Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania (all down 0.1 percentage point) and were relatively unchanged in New South Wales and South Australia.

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were in Tasmania (down 0.5 percentage points) and South Australia (down 0.4 percentage points). The largest increase was in Queensland (up 0.3 percentage points) and relatively unchanged in New South Wales and Victoria.

The trend participation rate decreased in Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 percentage points), and New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania (all down 0.1 percentage points) and was relatively unchanged in Victoria, South Australia and Northern Territory.

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted participation rates were in Tasmania (down 0.3 percentage points) and Victoria (down 0.1 percentage points). The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rates were in New South Wales and South Australia (both up 0.1 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories and the ABS recommends using trend estimates to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series.

Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
March
April
March
April
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.3
5.3
5.3
5.3
Victoria
5.8
5.8
5.7
5.6
Queensland
6.1
6.2
6.2
6.5
South Australia
7.0
7.0
7.1
6.8
Western Australia
5.7
5.5
5.5
5.6
Tasmania
6.7
6.6
6.8
6.3
Northern Territory
4.4
4.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.2
4.1
np
np
Australia
5.8
5.7
5.7
5.7

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