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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY MARCH 2015
In trend terms the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2% in March 2015. The number of employed persons in March 2015 increased by 20,700 to 11,700,600 and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 900 to 768,600 in trend terms. The trend participation rate increased less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8% in March 2015.
The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, increased 0.1 percentage points to 60.8% (seasonally adjusted) in March 2015. In trend terms, the employment to population ratio increased less than 0.1 percentage points to 60.8%.
Seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 31,500 persons to 8,131,400 persons while part-time employment increased by 6,100 to 3,588,900 persons in March 2015. The increase in total employment resulted from:
Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked increased 4.8 million hours (0.3%) in March 2015 to 1,630.4 million hours.
The largest absolute increases in seasonally adjusted employment were in New South Wales (up 26,000 persons) and Victoria (up 10,000 persons). The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in Queensland (down 7,900 persons).
The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in South Australia (up 0.3 percentage points) while the largest decrease was in Queensland (down 0.3 percentage points).
The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in South Australia (down 0.4 percentage points), New South Wales (down 0.2 percentage points) and Western Australia (down 0.2 percentage points). The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Victoria (up 0.2 percentage points). The ABS recommends using trend estimates to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series.
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories.
Gross flows (Table 17) highlight the change in labour force status of individuals between last month and this month. Gross flows are derived from the sample that is common between two consecutive months which, after taking account of sample rotation and varying non-response each month, is approximately 80% of the sample. However, the level and movement estimates produced from the Gross flows will not necessarily represent 80% of the level and movement estimates in a given month from the whole sample. Despite this limitation, analysis of the gross flows data can provide an indication, in original terms, of underlying movements in the labour market.
Movements between February and March 2015 in original terms include impacts from the February Participation, Job search and Mobility supplementary survey. These impacts are reflected in gross flows data between February and March 2015 and should be considered when interpreting the series.
In original terms between February and March 2015 the number of persons employed decreased by 21,700 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 23,200. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
In original terms between February and March 2015 the number of persons unemployed decreased by 28,300 with gross flows showing a net decrease of 41,700. The decrease shown in the gross flows comprised:
As the gross flows data are presented in original terms they are not directly comparable to the seasonally adjusted and trend data discussed elsewhere in the commentary.
ABOUT THE DATA
There can be statistical volatility in any sample survey and while standard errors provide one measure of statistical volatility, it is not possible to be precise about the impact of statistical volatility for any given estimate. However, the ABS will continue to investigate whether it is possible to modify in future its estimation methodology for Labour Force statistics to reduce its extent. This investigation is consistent with the recommendations of the recent independent review into the Labour Force Survey, but will take some time. Statistical volatility is dampened in the trend estimates, and the ABS encourages users to consider these along with the seasonally adjusted and original series in understanding underlying trends in the labour market.
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