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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY FEBRUARY 2015
The seasonally adjusted underemployment rate was 8.6% in February 2015, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from November 2014 based on unrounded estimates. Combined with the unemployment rate of 6.3%, the latest seasonally adjusted estimate of total labour force underutilisation was 14.9% in February 2015, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from November 2014. In trend terms, the underemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 8.7% in February 2015 and total labour force underutilisation increased 0.3 percentage points to 15.1%.
In trend terms the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.3% in February 2015. The number of employed persons in February 2015 increased by 14,000 to 11,654,000 and the number of unemployed persons increased by 2,900 to 781,600 in trend terms. The trend participation rate was unchanged at 64.7% in February 2015.
The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, was unchanged at 60.6% (seasonally adjusted) in February 2015. In trend terms, the employment to population ratio was also unchanged at 60.6%.
Seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 10,300 persons to 8,062,000 persons while part-time employment increased by 5,300 to 3,590,400 persons in February 2015. The increase in total employment resulted from:
Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked increased 13.0 million hours (0.8%) in February 2015 to 1,620.8 million hours.
The largest absolute increases in seasonally adjusted employment were in Victoria (up 12,800 persons) and Queensland (up 8,100 persons). The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in South Australia (down 7,200 persons).
The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were in South Australia (down 0.8 percentage points) and Tasmania (down 0.3 percentage points) while the largest increases were in Queensland (up 0.2 percentage points) and Western Australia (up 0.2 percentage points).
The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in Victoria (down 0.5 percentage points) and South Australia (down 0.3 percentage points). The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Western Australia (up 0.2 percentage points). The ABS recommends using trend estimates to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series.
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories.
Gross flows (Table 17) highlight the change in labour force status of individuals between last month and this month. Gross flows are derived from the sample that is common between two consecutive months which, after taking account of sample rotation and varying non-response each month, is approximately 80% of the sample. However, the level and movement estimates produced from the Gross flows will not necessarily represent 80% of the level and movement estimates in a given month from the whole sample. Despite this limitation, analysis of the gross flows data can provide an indication, in original terms, of underlying movements in the labour market.
Estimates for February 2015 in original terms include impacts from the timing of the Participation, Job search and Mobility supplementary survey. These impacts will be reflected in gross flows data between January and February 2015 and should be considered when interpreting the gross flows.
In original terms between January and February 2015 the number of persons employed increased by 260,400 with gross flows showing a net increase of 168,100. The increase shown in the gross flows comprised:
In original terms between January and February 2015 the number of persons unemployed increased by 1,300 with gross flows showing a net increase of 4,000. The increase shown in the gross flows comprised:
As the gross flows data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted and trend data discussed elsewhere in the commentary.
ABOUT THE DATA
There can be statistical volatility in any sample survey and while standard errors provide one measure of statistical volatility, it is not possible to be precise about the impact of statistical volatility for any given estimate. However, the ABS will continue to investigate whether it is possible to modify in future its estimation methodology for Labour Force statistics to reduce its extent. This investigation is consistent with the recommendations of the recent independent review into the Labour Force Survey, but will take some time. Statistical volatility is dampened in the trend estimates, and the ABS encourages users to consider these along with the seasonally adjusted and original series in understanding underlying trends in the labour market.
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