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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY SEPTEMBER 2019
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 303,100 people (or 2.4%), 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 0.5 percentage points (pts) to 62.7%.
Trend employment increased by 20,200 people (0.16%) between August 2019 and September 2019. This is slightly below the monthly average growth rate over the last 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 9,000 people between August and September 2019, and part-time employment increased by 11,300 people. Compared to a year ago, there are 185,900 more people employed full-time and 117,200 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 2.7 million hours (0.1%) to 1,783.7 million hours in September 2019. Over the past year, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.8%, below the 2.4% increase in employed people. In September average hours worked per employed person was around 137.8 hours per month or around 31.7 hours per week.
The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.3% in September 2019. The number of unemployed people increased by 1,600 to 718,000 people, and by 32,300 people from the same time last year.
The trend participation rate remained steady at 66.2% in September 2019, and was 0.6 pts higher than in September 2018. The female participation rate increased by 0.1 pts to 61.3% and the male participation rate remained steady at 71.3%.
The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed people. Over the past 12 months, the labour force increased by 335,300 people (2.5%). 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, increased by less than 0.1 pts to 78.8%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age group is less than 10 pts, at 83.4% 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 decreased by 0.1 pts to 11.7% from August 2019 to September 2019, and has increased by 0.5 pts since September 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 increased by 14,700 people in September 2019 to 12,944,000 people. The underlying composition of the net change was an increase of 26,200 people in full-time employment and a decrease of 11,400 people in part-time employment. Since September 2018, full-time employment increased by 191,700 people, while part-time employment increased by 119,900 people.
Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.1 million hours (or 0.2%) in September 2019 to 1,787.3 million hours.
The seasonally adjusted employment to population remained steady at 62.7% in September 2019, and increased by 0.5 pts from the same time last year.
GRAPH 1. EMPLOYMENT TO POPULATION RATIO, PEOPLE, September 2009 to September 2019
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 5.2% in September 2019. The participation rate decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 66.1%.
STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES
In September 2019, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories. The largest increases were recorded in Victoria (up 7,900 people), Queensland (up 6,600 people) and New South Wales (up 3,800 people).
Over the past year, increases in employment were observed in all states and territories except the Northern Territory (down 4,100 people). The largest increases were in New South Wales (up 110,800 people), Victoria (up 102,900 people) and Queensland (up 58,500 people). The highest annual trend employment growth rates were in the Australian Capital Territory at 3.3%, followed by Victoria at 3.1%, New South Wales at 2.7% and Queensland at 2.4%. The annual trend employment growth rates in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, 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 (5.6%), and by 0.1 pts in Queensland (6.6%) and South Australia (6.5%). The only monthly trend unemployment rate decrease observed was in Western Australia (down 0.1 pts to 5.7%) while all remaining states and territories recorded no change.
The monthly trend participation rate increased by 0.6 pts in the Northern Territory (73.3%), by 0.3 pts in the Australian Capital Territory (71.3%), by 0.1 pts in Queensland (66.3%) and by less than 0.1 pts in New South Wales (65.9%), Victoria (66.3%) and Tasmania (60.4%), while all remaining states recorded no change.
SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES
In seasonally adjusted terms, from August 2019 to September 2019, the largest increases in employment were recorded in Queensland (up 25,300 people) and Victoria (up 8,600 people). The largest decrease was in New South Wales (down 23,000 people).
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.2 pts in New South Wales (4.5%), and by 0.1 pts in Queensland (6.5%). Decreases were recorded in South Australia (down 1.0 pts to 6.3%, following a cumulative increase of 1.3 pts over the previous two months), Victoria (down 0.2 pts to 4.7%) and Tasmania (down 0.2 pts to 6.2%), with Western Australia recording no change.
The seasonally adjusted participation rate increased by 0.6 pts in Queensland (66.5%) and by 0.3 pts in Tasmania (60.5%). Decreases were recorded in South Australia (down 0.6 pts to 63.3%), Western Australia (down 0.4 pts to 68.1%), New South Wales (down 0.3 pts to 65.6%) and Victoria (down 0.1 pts to 66.3%).
Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.
TABLE 1. UNEMPLOYMENT RATE, STATES AND TERRITORIES
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