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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY OCTOBER 2019
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 268,500 people (or 2.1%), which was above the average annual growth rate over the past 20 years of 2.0%. Over the same 12 months, the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population (aged 15 years and over) is, increased by 0.3 percentage points (pts) to 62.6%.
Trend employment increased by 12,300 people (0.10%) between September and October 2019. This was below the monthly average growth rate over the last 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 been more than 300,000 people entering and 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 5,800 people between September and October 2019, and part-time employment increased by 6,500 people. Compared to a year ago, there were 155,200 more people employed full-time and 113,300 more people employed part-time. This compositional change has led to an increase in the part-time share of employment from 31.5% to 31.7%.
The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.9 million hours (0.2%) to 1,786.1 million hours in October 2019. Over the past year, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.7%, below the 2.1% increase in employed people. In October, the average hours worked per employed person was around 138.1 hours per month or around 31.8 hours per week.
The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3% in October 2019. The number of unemployed people increased by 1,800 in October 2019 to 722,400 people, and by 43,600 people from the same time last year.
The trend participation rate remained steady at 66.1% in October 2019, and was 0.5 pts higher than in October 2018. The female participation rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 61.3% and the male participation rate remained steady at 71.1%.
The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed people. Over the past 12 months, the labour force increased by 312,100 people (2.3%). This rate of increase was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (1.7%).
The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population, remained steady at 78.7%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age group was less than 10 pts, at 83.3% and 74.2% 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 remained steady at 12.0% from September 2019 to October 2019, and has increased by 0.8 pts since October 2018.
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 decreased by 19,000 people in October 2019 to 12,919,200 people. The underlying composition of the net change was a decrease of 10,300 people in full-time employment and a decrease of 8,700 people in part-time employment. Since October 2018, full-time employment increased by 135,700 people, while part-time employment increased by 116,100 people.
Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 2.8 million hours (or 0.2%) in October 2019 to 1,783.9 million hours.
The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio decreased by 0.2 pts to 62.5% in October 2019, and increased by 0.2 pts from the same time last year.
GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PEOPLE, October 2009 to October 2019
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 pts to 5.3% in October 2019. The participation rate decreased by 0.1 pts to 66.0%.
STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES
In October 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except New South Wales (down 100 people) and South Australia (down 1,000 people). The largest increases were recorded in Victoria (up 7,300 people), and Queensland (up 3,400 people).
Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 3,400 people). The largest increases were in Victoria (up 97,500 people), New South Wales (up 92,700 people), and Queensland (up 52,600 people). The highest annual trend employment growth rates were in the Australian Capital Territory at 3.4%, followed by Victoria at 2.9%, New South Wales at 2.3% and Queensland at 2.1%. The annual trend employment growth rates in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory were above their respective 20 year average year-on-year growth in trend employment.
The monthly trend unemployment rate increased by 0.2 pts in the Northern Territory (5.9%), and by 0.1 pts in New South Wales (4.7%). The monthly trend unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 pts in Tasmania (6.1%), and the Australian Capital Territory (3.3%), while all remaining states recorded no change.
The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.5 pts in the Northern Territory (73.9%), 0.2 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (71.2%), 0.1 pts in Queensland (66.1%), and by less than 0.1 pts in Tasmania (60.4%). The monthly trend participation rate decreased by 0.1 pts in New South Wales (65.7%) and South Australia (62.9%), while all remaining states recorded no change.
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
In seasonally adjusted terms, from September to October 2019, the largest increases in employment were recorded in Western Australia (up 6,300 people) and Victoria (up 2,900 people). The largest decreases were in Queensland (down 14,000 people), New South Wales (down 10,300 people) and South Australia (down 6,500 people).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.3 pts in New South Wales (4.8%), and by 0.1 pts in Victoria (4.8%). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 pts in Tasmania (5.9%), and by 0.1 pts in Queensland (6.5%), with Western Australia and South Australia recording no change.
The seasonally adjusted participation rate increased by 0.2 pts in Western Australia (68.3%). The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased by 0.5 pts in Queensland (66.0%) and South Australia (62.7%), and by 0.1 pts in Tasmania (60.4%). New South Wales and Victoria recorded no change.
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.
TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES
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