6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Feb 2019 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/03/2019   
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21 March 2019

Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Trend unemployment rate steady at 5.0%

Australia's trend unemployment rate remained steady in February 2019 at 5.0 per cent, from a revised January 2019 figure, according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said: "The trend unemployment rate declined 0.5 percentage points over the year, from 5.5 per cent to 5.0 per cent. The pace of decline slowed in recent months, which was consistent with the slowdown seen in recent Job Vacancies and GDP numbers."

Employment and hours

In February 2019, trend monthly employment increased by 20,600 persons. Full-time employment increased by 12,300 persons and part-time employment increased by 8,200 persons.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 290,700 persons (2.3 per cent) which was above the average annual growth over the past 20 years (2.0 per cent).

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.1 per cent in February 2019 and by 1.9 per cent over the past year. This was slightly above the 20 year average year-on-year growth of 1.7 per cent.

Underemployment and underutilisation

The trend monthly underemployment rate decreased by less than 0.1 percentage points to 8.1 per cent in February and by 0.4 percentage points over the year. The trend underutilisation rate decreased less than 0.1 percentage points to 13.1 per cent, and by 0.9 percentage points over the year.

States and territories trend unemployment rate

The trend unemployment rate increased in Tasmania, decreased in Queensland, and remained steady in all other states and territories.

Seasonally adjusted data

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point to 4.9 per cent in February 2019, while the participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 65.6 per cent. The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed increased by 4,600.

The net movement of employed in both trend and seasonally adjusted terms is underpinned by around 300,000 people entering and leaving employment in the month.

More details are in the February 2019 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0). In addition, further information, including regional labour market information, can be found in the upcoming February 2019 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), due for release on 28 March 2019.

These publications are available for free download (after release) from the ABS website: https://www.abs.gov.au.

Media note:
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) must be attributed as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team on 1300 175 070 or media@abs.gov.au (8.30am - 5pm Monday - Friday AEST).
  • The ABS produces trend estimates to provide a more reliable indicator of the underlying behaviour of the Labour Force series. Trend estimates were introduced into the Labour Force series in the mid 1980s and are available back to February 1978. Trend estimates are considered the best indicators of the underlying behaviour in the labour market. See paragraphs 29 to 38 of the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
  • Labour Force Survey data is complemented by other ABS measures to build a comprehensive picture of the labour market. Jobs in Australia data provides insights into all jobs held throughout the year.
  • Labour Accounts data provides the number of filled jobs at a point-in-time each quarter, while Labour Force data measures the number of people employed each month.
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