6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2019 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2019   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY JANUARY 2019


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend employment estimate increased by 24,900 persons in January 2019, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 1,800 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.1%;
  • the underemployment rate remaining steady at 8.3%;
  • the underutilisation rate remaining steady at 13.3%;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 65.7%; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 62.4%.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 295,500 persons (or 2.4%), which was above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 2.0%. Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.4 percentage points (pts) to 62.4%.

In monthly terms, trend employment increased by 24,900 persons between December 2018 and January 2019. This represents an increase of 0.20%, which was above 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 generally been around 300,000 people entering employment, and around 300,000 leaving employment. This is particularly pronounced during the December-January period. 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.

In net terms, trend full-time employment increased by 16,800 persons between December 2018 and January 2019, and part-time employment increased by 8,100 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 218,600 more persons employed full-time and 76,800 more persons employed part-time. This compositional shift led to a decrease in the part-time share of employment over the past 12 months, from 31.6% to 31.5%.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.6 million hours (or 0.1%) in January 2019 to 1,763.2 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 1.6% over the past year, which was below the increase in employed persons (2.4%). The average hours worked per employed person was 138.3 hours per month or around 31.8 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1% in January 2019. The number of unemployed persons increased by 1,800 to 680,100 persons. Over the past year, the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 pts, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 41,700 persons.

The trend underemployment rate remained steady at 8.3% in January 2019. Over the past year this rate decreased by slightly under 0.3 pts, from 8.5% in January 2018. The underutilisation rate, which is a combined measure of unemployment and underemployment in the labour force, was 13.3% in January 2019, down 0.7 pts from 14.0% in January 2018.

The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.7% in January 2019. The female participation rate increased to 60.6% and the male participation rate remained steady at 71.0%.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the trend labour force increased by 253,800 persons (1.9%). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (342,800 persons, or 1.7%).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population, increased less than 0.1 pts to 78.2%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 pts, at 82.9% and 73.5% 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 68.0%. The unemployment rate for this group remained steady at 11.4% in January 2019 and decreased by 0.9 pts over the year.

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 39,100 persons from December 2018 to January 2019. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 65,400 persons in full-time employment and a decrease of 26,300 persons in part-time employment. Since January 2018, full-time employment increased by 236,100 persons, while part-time employment increased by 35,200 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 6.6 million hours (or 0.4%) in January to 1,766.4 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 pts to 62.4% in January 2019, and increased by 0.3 pts from the same time last year.

GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PERSONS, January 2009 to January 2019


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.0% in January 2019, while the underemployment rate decreased by 0.2 pts to 8.1%, and the underutilisation rate decreased 0.1 pts to 13.2%. The participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 65.7%.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In January 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in most states and territories except Western Australia (down 1,700 persons),Tasmania (down 300 persons) and South Australia (down 200 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 11,200 persons), followed by Victoria (up 10,300 persons) and Queensland (up 3,500 persons).

Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states except Tasmania (down 1,400 persons). Both territories recorded falls in employment (the Northern Territory down 2,500 persons and the Australian Capital Territory down 2,300 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 133,900 persons), Victoria (up 118,800 persons) and Queensland (up 27,800 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Victoria at 3.7%, followed by New South Wales at 3.4% and Queensland at 1.1%. New South Wales and Victoria were the only states to have a year-on-year growth rate in trend employment above their 20 year average.

The monthly trend unemployment rate increased by 0.1 pts in Western Australia (6.6%) and Tasmania (6.2%). It increased by less than 0.1 pts in South Australia (6.0%) and the Northern Territory (5.0%). It remained unchanged in Victoria (4.5%) and the Australian Capital Territory (3.5%). It decreased by 0.1 pts in New South Wales (4.1%) and less than 0.1 pts in Queensland (6.1%).

The monthly trend underemployment rate increased in the Northern Territory (up 0.3 pts to 5.0%) and Victoria (up 0.1 pts to 8.2%). Decreases were seen in Tasmania (down 0.2 pts to 9.6%), Western Australia (down 0.1 pts to 9.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.1 pts to 6.3%).

Increases to the trend participation rate were observed in the Northern Territory (up by 0.2 pts to 74.8%), South Australia (up by less than 0.1 pts to 62.8%), New South Wales (up by less than 0.1 pts to 65.1%) and Victoria (up by less than 0.1 pts to 65.9%). Decreases were observed in Tasmania (down 0.1 pts to 60.1%) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.1 pts to 69.6%). The monthly trend participation rate remained unchanged in Queensland (65.6%) and Western Australia (68.5%).

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in New South Wales (up 47,200 persons), followed by Victoria (up 2,200 persons) and Western Australia (up 800 persons). The largest decrease was in Queensland (down 19,900 persons) followed by South Australia (down 4,500).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in Tasmania (up 1.0 pts to 7.0%), Western Australia (up 0.4 pts to 6.8%), Victoria (up 0.4 pts to 4.5%) and South Australia (up 0.3 pts to 6.3%). Decreases in the unemployment rate were observed in New South Wales (down 0.4 pts to 3.9%) and Queensland (down less than 0.1 pts to 6.0%).

The seasonally adjusted underemployment rate decreased in all states. The largest decreases were in Tasmania (down 0.6 pts to 9.4%) and Queensland (down 0.4 pts to 8.5%).

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were in Tasmania (up 0.6 pts to 60.7%), New South Wales (up 0.4 pts to 65.2%) and Western Australia (up 0.3 pts to 68.4%). Decreases were seen in Queensland (down 0.7 pts to 65.4%) and South Australia (down 0.2 pts to 62.6%).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
December 2018
January 2019
December 2018
January 2019
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.2
4.1
4.3
3.9
Victoria
4.5
4.5
4.2
4.5
Queensland
6.1
6.1
6.1
6.0
South Australia
5.9
6.0
5.9
6.3
Western Australia
6.5
6.6
6.4
6.8
Tasmania
6.0
6.2
6.0
7.0
Northern Territory
4.9
5.0
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.5
3.5
np
np
Australia
5.1
5.1
5.0
5.0

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