6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/05/2019   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY APRIL 2019


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 20,700 persons in April 2019, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 6,100 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.1%;
  • the underemployment rate remaining steady at 8.3%;
  • the underutilisation rate increasing to 13.4%;
  • 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 310,500 persons (or 2.5%), 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%.

Trend employment increased by 20,700 persons between March and April 2019. This represents an increase of 0.16%, which was below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.17%.

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 considerably more than 300,000 people entering employment, and more than 300,000 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 14,700 persons between March and April 2019, and part-time employment increased by 6,100 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 260,400 more persons employed full-time and 50,200 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 31.8% to 31.4%.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 5.6 million hours (or 0.3%) in April 2019 to 1,786.0 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 2.8% over the past year above the increase in employed persons (2.5%). The average hours worked per employed person was 139.4 hours per month, or around 32.1 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1% in April 2019. The number of unemployed persons increased by 6,100 to 689,600 persons. Over the past year, the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 pts, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 35,400 persons.

The trend participation rate remained steady at 65.7% in April 2019, and was 0.2 pts higher than in April 2018. The female participation rate increased 0.4 pts to 60.8% and the male participation rate remained steady at 70.9%.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 275,100 persons (2.1%). This increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (362,400 persons, or 1.8%).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an ageing population increased to 78.3%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 pts, at 82.8% and 73.8% 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) decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 67.9%. The unemployment rate for this group increased 0.1 pts to 11.8% in April 2019 and decreased by 0.2% 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 28,400 persons from March to April 2019. The underlying composition of the net change was a decrease of 6,300 persons in full-time employment and an increase of 34,700 persons in part-time employment. Since April 2018, full-time employment increased by 248,100 persons, while part-time employment increased by 74,800 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.5 million hours (or 0.1%) in April to 1,788.5 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 pts to 62.4% in April 2019, and increased by 0.5 pts from the same time last year.

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

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 pts to 5.2% in April 2019. The participation rate increased to 65.8%.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In April 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 400 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 10,600 persons), Queensland (up 5,200 persons) and Victoria (up 4,400 persons).

Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states except Tasmania (down 2,200 persons). The Northern Territory (down 7,900 persons) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 200 persons) also recorded decreases through the year. The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 129,000 persons), Victoria (up 115,900 persons) and Queensland (up 40,300 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Victoria at 3.6%, followed by New South Wales at 3.2% and Queensland at 1.6%. Year-on-year growth in trend employment was above the 20 year average in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

The monthly trend unemployment rate increased by 0.2 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (3.9%) and 0.1 pts in Tasmania (6.7%). The unemployment rate increased by less than 0.1 pts in Victoria (4.8%). The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 pts in the Northern Territory (4.5%) and by less than 0.1 pts in Queensland (5.9%) .The monthly trend unemployment rate remained unchanged in New South Wales (4.3%), South Australia (6.0%) and Western Australia (6.1%).

The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.1 pts in New South Wales (65.4%) and South Australia (63.2%) and by less than 0.1 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (69.5%). Decreases were observed in the Northern Territory (down 0.7 pts to 72.1%), Queensland (down by less than 0.1 pts to 65.5%) and Western Australia (down by less than 0.1 pts to 67.9%). The monthly trend participation rate remained unchanged in all remaining states.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in New South Wales (up 25,100 persons), followed by Western Australia (up 6,400 persons) and Queensland (up 5,400 persons). The only decrease was in Victoria (down 7,600 persons).

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in New South Wales (up 0.2 pts to 4.5%), Victoria (up 0.2 pts to 4.9%), South Australia (up 0.2 pts to 6.1%), Western Australia (up 0.1 pts to 6.1%) and Tasmania (up 0.1 pts to 6.8%). The only decrease was observed in Queensland (down 0.2 pts to 5.9%),

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were in New South Wales (up 0.5 pts to 65.6%), Western Australia (up 0.4 pts to 68.2%), South Australia (up 0.3 pts to 63.4%) and Tasmania (up 0.3 pts to 60.7%). The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased in Victoria (down 0.1 pts to 65.9%) and Queensland (down 0.1 pts to 65.5%).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
March 2019
April 2019
March 2019
April 2019
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.3
4.3
4.3
4.5
Victoria
4.7
4.8
4.6
4.9
Queensland
6.0
5.9
6.1
5.9
South Australia
6.0
6.0
5.9
6.1
Western Australia
6.1
6.1
6.0
6.1
Tasmania
6.6
6.7
6.7
6.8
Northern Territory
4.5
4.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.8
3.9
np
np
Australia
5.1
5.1
5.1
5.2

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