6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, May 2019 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/06/2019   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MAY 2019

NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 28,400 persons in May 2019, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 5,800 persons;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.1%;
  • the underemployment rate increasing to 8.5%;
  • the underutilisation rate increasing to 13.6%;
  • the participation rate increasing to 65.9%; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 62.5%.


Over the past year, trend employment increased by 332,900 persons (or 2.7%), 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 0.5 percentage points (pts) to 62.5%.

Trend employment increased by 28,400 persons between April and May 2019. This represents an increase of 0.22%, which was above 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 13,900 persons between April and May 2019, and part-time employment increased by 14,500 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 252,100 more persons employed full-time and 80,900 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 31.7% to 31.6%.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.3 million hours (or 0.2%) in May 2019 to 1,782.1 million hours. Monthly hours worked increased by 2.5% over the past year, which was below the increase in employed persons (2.7%). The average hours worked per employed person was 138.6 hours per month, or around 31.9 hours per week.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.1% in May 2019. The number of unemployed persons increased by 5,800 to 695,200 persons. Over the past year, the trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.3 pts, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 25,500 persons.

The trend participation rate increased to 65.9% in May 2019, and was 0.4 pts higher than in May 2018. The female participation rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 60.8% and the male participation rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 71.1%.

The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed persons. Over the past year, the labour force increased by 307,400 persons (2.3%). This increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (356,000 persons, or 1.8%).

The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population increased 0.1 pts to 78.4%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age range is less than 10 pts at 83.2% and 73.7% 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) remained steady at 68.1%. The unemployment rate for this group increased by less than 0.1 pts to 11.8% in May 2019 and increased by 0.1% since May last 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 42,300 persons from April to May 2019. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 2,400 persons in full-time employment and an increase of 39,800 persons in part-time employment. Since May 2018, full-time employment increased by 266,300 persons, while part-time employment increased by 93,900 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 5.9 million hours (or 0.3%) in May to 1,775.0 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio increased by 0.1 pts to 62.6% in May 2019, and increased by 0.7 pts from the same time last year.

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


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2% in May 2019. The participation rate increased 0.1 pts to 66.0%.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In May 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 100 persons). The largest increases were recorded in New South Wales (up 15,900 persons), Victoria (up 8,300 persons) and Queensland (up 6,200 persons).

Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories except Tasmania (down 2,300 persons) and the Northern Territory (down 9,200 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 142,300 persons), Victoria (up 127,700 persons) and Queensland (up 46,400 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Victoria at 3.9%, followed by New South Wales at 3.6% and Queensland at 1.9%. 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 0.1 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (3.9%). The monthly trend unemployment rate remained unchanged in all other states and territories.

The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.2 pts in New South Wales (65.7%) and increased by 0.1 pts in South Australia (63.3%) and Queensland (65.7%). The only decrease was observed in the Northern Territory (down 0.6 pts to 71.4%). The monthly trend participation rate remained unchanged in all remaining states and territories.

SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in New South Wales (up 38,500 persons), followed by Victoria (up 28,600 persons) and Queensland (up 7,800 persons). The only decreases were in Western Australia (down 4,000 persons) and Tasmania (down 400 persons).

Seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in Queensland (up 0.4 pts to 6.2%) and Western Australia (up 0.2 pts to 6.3%). Decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were observed in South Australia (down 0.4 pts to 5.7%), Tasmania (down 0.4 pts to 6.4%) and Victoria (down 0.3 pts to 4.6%).

The largest increases in the seasonally adjusted participation rate were in New South Wales (up 0.5 pts to 66.2%), Victoria (up 0.3 pts to 66.2%) and Queensland (up 0.3 pts to 65.9%). The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased in Tasmania (down 0.4 pts to 60.2%) and Western Australia (down 0.1 pts to 68.1%).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
April 2019
May 2019
April 2019
May 2019
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
4.4
4.4
4.6
4.6
Victoria
4.7
4.7
4.8
4.6
Queensland
6.0
6.0
5.9
6.2
South Australia
5.9
5.8
6.1
5.7
Western Australia
6.1
6.2
6.1
6.3
Tasmania
6.6
6.6
6.8
6.4
Northern Territory
4.5
4.5
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.8
3.9
np
np
Australia
5.1
5.1
5.2
5.2

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