6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Mar 2016 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/04/2016   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MARCH 2016


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 7,700 persons in March 2016, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons decreasing by 2,800;
  • the unemployment rate remaining at 5.8 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining at 65.0 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining at 61.2 per cent.

The trend unemployment rate remained at 6.1 per cent from April 2015 to August 2015, before declining over subsequent months to 5.8 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 61.2 per cent and has remained relatively steady.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 251,200 (or 2.2%), which was above the average year-on-year growth over the last 20 years of 1.8%. Unemployment decreased by 35,500 (or 4.9%) from March 2015, with the trend unemployment rate decreasing from 6.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent over the same period. The participation rate and employment to population ratio both increased over this period (up 0.2 and 0.4 percentage points respectively).

The trend employment increase of 7,700 persons represents a monthly growth rate of 0.10%, which is below the monthly average over the past 20 years of 0.16%. While trend employment growth was above the 20 year months average from December 2014 to December 2015, the rate of growth in employment for the past three months has been below this average.

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 March 2016 was 5.7 per cent (down 0.1 percentage points) and the labour force participation rate remained steady at 64.9 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 26,100 persons, with a full-time employment decrease of 9,000 persons and an increase in part-time employment of 34,900.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 17.5 million hours (1.1%) in March 2016 to 1,632.3 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 61.2% in March 2016.

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



STATE ESTIMATES

Trend employment in March 2016 was strongest in Victoria (up 5,400 persons) and Western Australia (up 800 persons).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest absolute increases in employment in March 2016 were in Western Australia (up 16,600 persons) and Victoria (up 10,600 persons). The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in Queensland (down 15,500 persons).

The largest increases in trend unemployment rates were in Northern Territory and Tasmania (both up 0.1 percentage points). The largest decreases were in Australian Capital Territory (down 0.2 percentage points) and Western Australia (down 0.1 percentage point).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rates was in Queensland (up 0.5 percentage points). The largest decreases were in South Australia and Western Australia (both down 0.4 percentage points), with decreases also seen in Victoria (down 0.3 percentage points) and Tasmania (down 0.2 percentage points).

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

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rates was in Western Australia (up 0.4 percentage points). The largest decrease in the seasonally adjusted participation rates was in Queensland (down 0.2 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
February
March
February
March
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.3
5.3
5.3
5.3
Victoria
6.0
5.9
6.0
5.7
Queensland
6.0
6.0
5.6
6.1
South Australia
7.2
7.2
7.6
7.2
Western Australia
5.9
5.7
6.0
5.5
Tasmania
6.8
6.9
6.9
6.8
Northern Territory
4.4
4.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.5
4.3
np
np
Australia
5.8
5.8
5.8
5.7

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