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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY AUGUST 2019
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 313,600 persons (or 2.5%), which was above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 2.0%. Over the same 12 months, the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.5 percentage points (pts) to 62.7%.
Trend employment increased by 22,000 persons (0.17%) between July 2019 and August 2019. This is in line with the monthly average growth rate over the last 20 years of 0.17%.
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 350,000 people entering employment, and more than 350,000 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.
Trend full-time employment increased by 7,200 persons between July and August 2019, and part-time employment increased by 14,700 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 203,800 more persons employed full-time and 109,800 more persons employed part-time. This compositional change has led to an increase in the part-time share of employment from 31.6% to 31.7%.
The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.6 million hours (0.1%) to 1,778.5 million hours in August 2019. Over the past year, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.7%, below the 2.5% increase in employed persons. This month average hours worked per an employed person was 137.6 hours per month or around 31.7 hours per week.
The trend unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 5.3% in August 2019. The number of unemployed persons increased by 2,700 to 715,700 persons over the past month, and by 22,200 persons from the same time last year.
The trend participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 66.2% in August 2019, and was 0.6 pts higher than in August 2018. The male participation rate remained steady at 71.3% and the female participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 61.2%.
The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the last 12 months, the labour force increased by 335,800 persons (2.5%). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (1.7%).
The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population, remained steady at 78.7%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age group is less than 10 pts, at 83.4% and 74.1% respectively, continuing the long term convergence of male and female participation.
The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds (who are often referred to as the "youth" group in the labour market) increased 0.1 pts to 68.4%. The unemployment rate for this group decreased 0.1 pts to 11.8% from July 2019 to August 2019 and has increased by 0.6 pts since August 2018.
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 34,700 persons in August 2019 to 12,926,900 persons. The underlying composition of the net change was a decrease of 15,500 persons in full-time employment and an increase of 50,200 persons in part-time employment. Since August 2018, full-time employment has increased by 186,700 persons and part-time employment has increased by 124,000 persons.
Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.9 million hours (or 0.2%) in August 2019 to 1,782.6 million hours.
The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 pts to 62.7% in August 2019, and increased by 0.5 pts from the same time last year.
GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PERSONS, August 2009 to August 2019
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 5.3% in August 2019. The participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 66.2%.
STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES
In August 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories. The largest increases were recorded in New South Wales (up 10,600 persons), Victoria (up 7,500 persons), Queensland (up 4,900 persons), and Western Australia (up 3,200 persons).
Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories except Tasmania (down 1,400 persons) and the Northern Territory (down 6,300 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 133,700 persons), Victoria (up 106,200 persons) and Queensland (up 49,500 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in New South Wales at 3.3%, followed by Victoria at 3.2%, and Queensland at 2.0%. Year-on-year growth in trend employment in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory were above their respective 20 year average year-on-year growth in trend employment .
The monthly trend unemployment rate increased by 0.2 pts in South Australia (6.8%), by 0.1 pts in the Northern Territory (5.1%) and Queensland (6.4%) and by less than 0.1 pts in Victoria (4.9%). The monthly trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 pts in Western Australia (5.8%) and by less than 0.1 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (3.5%). The monthly trend unemployment rate remained steady in New South Wales (4.5%), and Tasmania (6.6%).
The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.2 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (70.6%), by 0.1 pts in the Northern Territory (71.9%), South Australia (63.7%), New South Wales (66.1%) and Western Australia (68.4%) and by less than 0.1 pts in Queensland (66.0%). The participation rate remained steady in Victoria (66.2%) and Tasmania (60.2%).
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
In seasonally adjusted terms, from July 2019 to August 2019, the largest increases in employment were in Victoria (up 20,300 persons) and New South Wales (up 16,700 persons). The largest decrease was in Queensland (down 7,200 persons).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.4 pts in South Australia (7.3%) and Tasmania (6.4%), and by 0.1 pts in Victoria (4.9%). Decreases were recorded in New South Wales (down 0.2 pts to 4.3%) and Western Australia (down 0.1 pts to 5.8%), with Queensland recording no change.
The seasonally adjusted participation rate increased by 0.3 pts in Victoria (66.4%) and in South Australia (63.9%), by 0.1 pts in Tasmania (60.2%), and by less than 0.1 pts in Western Australia (68.5%). Queensland (down 0.3 pts to 65.8%) recorded the only decrease and New South Wales (65.9%) remained steady.
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.
TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES
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