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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY JANUARY 2020
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 257,400 people (or 2.0%), which was the same as 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 0.3 percentage points (pts) to 62.6%.
Trend employment increased by 20,000 people (0.15%) between December 2019 and January 2020. This was below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.16%.
Underpinning these net changes in employment is extensive dynamic change, which occurs each month in the labour market. In recent months there has been more than 300,000 people entering and 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 14,600 people between December 2019 and January 2020, and part-time employment increased by 5,400 people. Compared to a year ago, there were 146,100 more people employed full-time and 111,200 more people employed part-time. This compositional change has led to an increase in the part-time share of employment from 31.4% to 31.7%.
The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 0.9 million hours (0.0%) to 1,785.5 million hours in January 2020. Over the past year, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.3%, below the 2.0% increase in employed people. In January 2020, the average hours worked per employed person was around 137.4 hours per month or around 31.6 hours per week.
The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2%, after December 2019 was revised from 5.1% to 5.2%. The number of unemployed people increased by 600 in January 2020 to 709,600 people, and by 34,400 people since January 2019.
The trend participation rate remained steady at 66.0% in January 2020, and was 0.4 pts higher than in January 2019. The female participation rate increased 0.1pt to 61.4% and the male participation rate remained steady at 70.9%.
The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed people. Over the past 12 months, the labour force increased by 291,800 people (2.2%), which was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (1.6%).
The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population, increased by 0.1 pts to 78.8%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age group was less than 10 pts, at 83.1% and 74.5% 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 by 0.1 pts to 68.4%. The unemployment rate for this group increased 0.1 pts to 11.9% in January 2020, and increased by 0.5 pts since January 2019.
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 13,500 people in January 2020 to 12,995,400 people. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 46,200 people in full-time employment and a decrease of 32,700 people in part-time employment. Since January 2019, full-time employment increased by 143,900 people, while part-time employment increased by 103,500 people.
Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 8.1 million hours (or 0.4%) in January 2020 to 1,781.8 million hours.
The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio remained steady at 62.6% in January 2020, and increased by 0.2 pts since January 2019.
GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PEOPLE, JANUARY 2010 to JANUARY 2020
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.2 pts to 5.3% in January 2020. The participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 66.1%.
STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES
In January 2020, increases in employment were observed in most states and territories, notably Victoria (up 7,300 people), Queensland (up 4,700 people) and New South Wales (up 4,600 people). The only decrease was recorded in South Australia (down 900 people).
Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories. The largest increases were in Victoria (up 94,600 people), New South Wales (up 65,300 people), and Queensland (up 57,100 people). The highest annual employment growth rates were in the Australian Capital Territory at 3.6%, followed by Tasmania at 3.5% and Victoria at 2.8%. The annual trend employment growth rates in Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory were above their respective 20 year average annual growth rates in trend employment.
The monthly trend unemployment rate increased by 0.1 pts in the Victoria (5.0%). The monthly trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 pts in South Australia (5.9%) and Tasmania (5.8%).
The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.3 pts in the Northern Territory (75.1%), and by 0.1 pts in Victoria (66.7%) and Tasmania (61.2%). The monthly trend participation rate decreased by 0.2 pts in the South Australia (62.4%) and 0.1 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (70.6%).
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
In January 2020, the largest increases in employment were recorded in Western Australia (up 6,700 people), Victoria (up 2,900 people) and Queensland (up 2,800 people). The largest decrease was in New South Wales (down 1,500 people).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.6 pts in Queensland (6.3%), 0.4 pts in both Victoria (5.4%) and Tasmania (5.9%). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in South Australia (down 0.5 pts to 5.7%).
The seasonally adjusted participation rate increased by 0.5 pts in Western Australia (68.2%) and by 0.4 pts in Queensland (66.0%). The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased by 0.4 pts in South Australia (62.1%), and by 0.1 pts in New South Wales (65.4%).
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.
TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES
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