6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Apr 2020 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 14/05/2020   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY APRIL 2020

NATIONAL ESTIMATES

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

Australia's seasonally adjusted estimate of employment decreased by 594,300 people in April 2020, with:

  • the number of unemployed people increasing by 104,500 people;
  • the unemployment rate increasing 1.0 percentage points (pts) to 6.2%;
  • the underemployment rate increasing by 4.9 pts to 13.7%;
  • the underutilisation rate increasing by 5.9 pts to 19.9%;
  • the participation rate decreasing 2.4 pts to 63.5%; and
  • the employment to population ratio decreasing 2.9 pts to 59.6%.

Employment decreased by 594,300 people (-4.6%) between March and April 2020, with full-time employment decreasing by 220,500 people and part-time employment decreasing by 373,800 people. Compared to a year ago, there were 123,000 less people employed full-time and 272,000 less people employed part-time. This change led to a decrease in the part-time share of employment over the past 12 months, from 31.5% to 30.3%.

The employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, decreased by 2.9 pts in April to 59.6%.

GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, AUSTRALIA

Graph 1 shows the seasonally adjusted employment to population ration from 61.5% in April 2010, dropping to 60.5% in April 2015 before rising to 62.7% in August 2019. It was 62.5% in March 2020 and fell to 59.6% in April 2020.

Monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 163.9 million hours (-9.2%) to 1,625.8 million hours in April 2020, larger than the decrease in employed people. In April 2020, the average hours worked per employed person was around 30.1 hours per week, down from around 32.0 hours in March.

The unemployment rate increased 1.0 points to 6.2% and was 1.0 points higher than in April 2019. The number of unemployed people increased by 104,500 in April 2020 to 823,300 people, and increased by 117,700 people from April 2019.

The underemployment rate increased by 4.9 pts to 13.7%, the highest on record, and was 5.2 pts higher than in April 2019. The number of underemployed people increased by 603,300 in April 2020 to 1,816,100 people, an increase of almost 50% (49.7%), and increased by 666,100 people since April 2019.


GRAPH 2. UNDEREMPLOYMENT, UNEMPLOYMENT and UNDERUTILISATION RATES

Graph  shows the 20 year time series for the  unemployment, underemployment and underutilisation rates, with April 2020 showing a spike in all series.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed people. Between March and April the labour force decreased by 489,800 people (-3.6%) to 13,242,000. Over the past year the labour force decreased by 2.1%, while the total civilian population aged 15 years and over increased by 1.5%.

The participation rate decreased 2.4 pts to 63.5% in April 2020, and was 2.3 pts lower than in April 2019. Female participation decreased 2.9 pts to 58.4%, and male participation rate decreased 1.9 pts to 68.9%.

The participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population, decreased by 2.7 pts in April 2020 to 76.0%. This decrease was higher than for the total population, highlighting the relatively large falls in participation in the younger age groups.

The participation rate for 15-24 year olds (who are often referred to as the "youth" group in the labour market) decreased 5.6 pts to 62.9% in April 2020. Employment for 15-24 year olds decreased by 213,500 people (-10.8%). The unemployment rate for this group increased 2.2 pts to 13.8%.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

In April 2020, all states and territories recorded decreases in employment. The largest decreases in employment were recorded in New South Wales (down 221,400 people), Queensland (down 129,600 people), Victoria (down 127,100 people), Western Australia (down 62,300 people), and South Australia (down 40,800 people).

Unemployment rates increased in all states and territories. The largest increases were 1.3 pts in Tasmania (up to 6.2%), 1.2 pts in Queensland (up to 6.8%), and 1.1 pts in New South Wales (up to 6.0%).

The largest participation rate decreases were 2.8 pts in both New South Wales (down to 62.6%) and Western Australia (down to 65.2%), followed by 2.6 pts in Queensland (down to 62.9%), and by 2.5 pts in South Australia (down to 60.4%).

Due to trend estimates not being published in April 2020, seasonally adjusted estimates are included for the two territories.


TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES - SEASONALLY ADJUSTED

March 2020
April 2020
%
%

New South Wales
4.9
6.0
Victoria
5.2
6.0
Queensland
5.7
6.8
South Australia
6.3
7.2
Western Australia
5.4
6.0
Tasmania
4.9
6.2
Northern Territory
5.5
6.0
Australian Capital Territory
3.2
4.2
Australia
5.2
6.2