6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2019 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/02/2019   
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21 February 2019

Embargo: 11:30 am (Canberra Time)

Trend unemployment rate steady at 5.1%

Australia's trend unemployment rate remained steady in January 2019 at 5.1 per cent, from a revised December 2018 figure, according to the latest information released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said: "The unemployment rate has remained at 5.1 per cent for a second month, supported by strong participation in the labour force, at 65.7 per cent."

Employment and hours

In January 2019, trend monthly employment increased by 24,900 persons. Full-time employment increased by 16,800 persons and part-time employment increased by 8,100 persons.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 295,500 persons (2.4 per cent) which was above the average annual growth over the past 20 years (2.0 per cent).

The trend employment to population ratio, which shows how employed the population is, rose to a 10 year high of 62.4 per cent.

"The 15-64 year old employment to population ratio reached a historical high of 74.1 per cent, with almost three of every four 'working age' Australians now employed", Mr Hockman said.

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.1 per cent in January 2019 and by 1.6 per cent over the past year. This was slightly below the 20 year average year-on-year growth of 1.7 per cent.

The trend monthly underemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 per cent and decreased by 0.3 percentage points over the year. The trend underutilisation rate also remained steady at 13.3 per cent, and decreased by 0.7 percentage points over the past year.

States and territories

The trend unemployment rate increased in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania, decreased in New South Wales and Queensland, and remained steady in all other states and territories.

Seasonally adjusted data

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.0 per cent in January 2019, and the underemployment rate decreased to 8.1 per cent. The seasonally adjusted number of persons employed increased by 39,100 persons.

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 January 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 January 2019 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed - Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), due for release on 28 February 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 28 to 37 of the Explanatory Notes in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
  • Spotlight: How many people work one hour per week?
  • Participation rate in the labour force is the highest since the series started in February 1978 and represents the percentage of employed and unemployed persons relative to the total civilian population.
  • Employment to population ratio is the number of employed persons expressed as a percentage of the civilian population.
  • Labour Force Survey data is complemented by other ABS measures to build a comprehensive picture of the labour market. Jobs in Australia (cat. no. 6160.0) 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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