6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/02/2016   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY JANUARY 2016


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 19,800 persons in January 2016, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 4,400;
  • an unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent, a decrease of less than 0.1 percentage points;
  • the participation rate remaining at 65.2 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio increasing less than 0.1 percentage points to 61.4%.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 6.1 per cent from March 2015 to September 2015, before declining over subsequent months to its current level of 5.8 per cent. The trend employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, increased steadily from 60.8 per cent in May 2015 to 61.4 per cent in January 2016.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 302,500 (or 2.6%), which was above the average year-on-year growth over the last 20 years of 1.8%. Over the past 12 months trend unemployment decreased by 29,800 (or 3.9%), with the trend unemployment rate decreasing from 6.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent. The participation rate (up 0.5 percentage points) and employment to population ratio (up 0.7 percentage points) both increased over this period.

The trend employment increase of 19,800 persons represents a monthly growth rate of 0.17%, which remains slightly above the monthly average over the past 20 years of 0.15%. While trend employment growth has been above the 20 year average since December 2014, the rate of growth in January 2016 was below that seen across the second half of 2015.

The trend series smooth 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 January 2016 was 6.0 per cent (up 0.2 percentage points) and the labour force participation rate was unchanged at 65.2 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted full-time employment decreased by 40,600 persons to 8,185,800 while part-time employment increased by 32,700 to 3,708,700 persons in January 2016. The decrease in total seasonally adjusted employment of 7,900 persons to 11,894,500 resulted from:
  • a decrease in female full-time employment, down 27,600 persons
  • a decrease in male full-time employment, down 13,000 persons
  • an increase in female part-time employment, up 10,600 persons
  • an increase in male part-time employment, up 22,100 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 10.9 million hours (0.7%) in January 2016 to 1,656.0 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased 0.1 percentage points to 61.3% in December 2015.

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



STATE ESTIMATES

Trend employment growth in January 2016 was strongest in absolute terms in New South Wales (up 7,900 persons), but strongest in relative terms in the Australian Capital Territory (up 0.3%). The largest annual growth rates in trend employment were in New South Wales (4.7%) and Queensland (3.1%).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest absolute decreases in employment in January 2016 were in New South Wales (down 13,400 persons) and Victoria (down 9,000 persons). The largest absolute increase in seasonally adjusted employment was in Queensland (up 9,600 persons).

The trend unemployment rates decreased slightly in all states and territories, except in Tasmania which increased slightly.

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates were in Queensland (up 0.5 percentage points), New South Wales (up 0.4 percentage points) and Victoria (up 0.3 percentage points). The largest decrease was in Western Australia (down 0.4 percentage points), with decreases also seen in South Australia and Tasmania (both down 0.3 percentage points).

The trend participation rate decreased slightly in Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, was relatively unchanged in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and increased slightly in Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in the participation rate was in Queensland (up 0.5 percentage points). The largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in Western Australia (down 0.4 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, December 2015 and January 2016

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
December
January
December
January
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.3
5.2
5.2
5.5
Victoria
6.0
6.1
6.0
6.3
Queensland
6.1
6.1
5.9
6.4
South Australia
7.1
6.9
7.1
6.8
Western Australia
6.2
6.2
6.3
5.9
Tasmania
6.6
6.6
6.8
6.5
Northern Territory
4.1
4.0
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
5.0
4.9
np
np
Australia
5.9
5.8
5.8
6.0

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