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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY February 2019
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 290,700 persons (or 2.3%), 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 pts to 62.4%.
Trend employment increased by 20,600 persons between January 2019 and February 2019. This represents an increase of 0.16%, which was equal to 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 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.
In February, trend full-time employment increased by 12,300 persons and part-time employment increased by 8,200 persons. Compared to a year ago, there are 219,100 more persons employed full-time and 71,600 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 31.5%.
GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PERSONS, February 2009 to February 2019
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 pts to 4.9% in February 2019, while the underemployment rate decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 8.1%, and the underutilisation rate decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 13.0%. The participation rate decreased by 0.2 pts to 65.6%.
STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES
In February 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories except Western Australia (down 1,600 persons) and South Australia (down 200 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 8,800 persons), followed by Victoria (up 8,300 persons) and Queensland (up 4,100 persons).
Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states except Tasmania (down 1,100 persons). Both territories recorded falls in employment (the Northern Territory down 4,200 persons and the Australian Capital Territory down 2,800 persons). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 125,600 persons), Victoria (up 123,300 persons) and Queensland (up 30,600 persons). The highest annual employment growth rates were in Victoria at 3.8%, followed by New South Wales at 3.2% and Queensland at 1.2%. 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 Tasmania (6.3%) and decreased by 0.1 pts in Queensland (5.7%). It remained unchanged in the other states and the territories.
The monthly trend underemployment rate increased in the Northern Territory (up 0.3 pts to 5.5%) and Victoria (up 0.1 pts to 8.3%). Decreases of 0.1 pts were seen in Queensland (8.4%), South Australia (8.8%), Western Australia (8.9%) and the Australian Capital Territory (6.1%).
Increases to the trend participation rate were observed in Victoria (up 0.1 pts to 66.1%). Decreases were observed in Western Australia (down 0.2% pts to 68.0%), Queensland (down 0.1 pts to 65.2%) and the Australian Capital Territory (down 0.1 pts to 69.3%). The monthly trend participation rate remained unchanged in the other states and the Northern Territory.
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increases in employment were in Queensland (up 6,400) and Victoria (up 5,700 persons), followed by South Australia (up 3,800 persons) and Western Australia (up 2,800 persons). The largest decrease was in New South Wales (down 5,800 persons).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in New South Wales (up 0.3 pts to 4.3%) and Victoria (up 0.2 pts to 4.8%). Decreases were observed in Western Australia (down 0.9 pts to 5.9%), Queensland (down 0.6 pts to 5.4%), South Australia (down 0.6 pts to 5.7%) and Tasmania (down 0.5 pts to 6.5%).
The monthly underemployment rate increased in seasonally adjusted terms in Tasmania (up 0.3 pts to 9.7%), New South Wales (up 0.1 pts to 7.6%) and Victoria (up 0.1 pts to 8.3%). The largest decreases were seen in South Australia (down 0.5 pts to 8.4%), Queensland (down 0.4 pts to 8.0%) and Western Australia (down 0.4 pts to 8.7%).
The seasonally adjusted participation rate decreased in Western Australia (down 0.6 pts to 67.8%), Queensland (down 0.4 pts to 65.0%) and South Australia (down 0.2 pts to 62.4%). Victoria saw a slight increase (up 0.1 pts to 66.1%). The participation rate remained steady for the other states.
TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES
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