Unemployment rate falls to 4.9%

Media Release

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent in June 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).


Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said June saw the eighth consecutive monthly fall in the unemployment rate.

“The unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent in June. This was 0.4 percentage points below March 2020 (5.3 per cent) and the lowest it has been since December 2010. The declining unemployment rate continues to coincide with employers reporting high levels of job vacancies and difficulties in finding suitable people for them,“ Mr Jarvis said.  

“The number of unemployed people fell by 22,000 in June, down to 679,000. This was around 325,000 people below the peak of 1 million unemployed people in July 2020.”

“The youth unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points to 10.2 per cent, which was 1.4 percentage points below the rate at the start of the pandemic. The last time we saw a youth unemployment rate of 10.2 per cent was in January 2009.”    

Employment, hours worked and underemployment

The fall in the unemployment rate coincided with a further increase in employment.

“Employment increased by 29,000 people in June, which was below the average increase of 50,000 people we saw over the previous six months,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Employment was 1.2 per cent higher in June than at the start of the pandemic.”

However, hours worked decreased nationally by 1.8 per cent between May and June, with hours worked falling by 8.4 per cent in Victoria and increasing by 0.5 per cent in the rest of Australia.  

"Hours worked data continues to provide the best indicator of the extent of labour market impacts from lockdowns. Hours worked in Victoria fell by 8.4 per cent in June, compared with a 0.3 per cent fall in employment. This highlights the extent to which people in Victoria had reduced hours or no work through the lockdown, without necessarily losing their jobs,” Mr Jarvis said.


The ‘Rest of Australia’ series is derived by subtracting the seasonally adjusted Victoria series from the seasonally adjusted Australia series. National and state and territory series are independently seasonally adjusted and do not sum to the Australia series. 


The underemployment rate, having fallen in recent months, increased by 0.5 percentage points to 7.9 per cent in June. This mainly reflected the fall in hours worked in Victoria, with the state’s underemployment rate increasing by 2.3 percentage points to 10.1 per cent.

The underutilisation rate, which combines unemployment and underemployment, increased by 0.3 percentage points to 12.8 per cent. This was the first increase in underutilisation rate since September 2020.


The participation rate was unchanged in June, at 66.2 per cent, and remained close to its historical high of 66.3 per cent in March 2021.

Today's release includes additional analysis of hours worked, including people working zero hours, and an analysis of employment and hours worked at the state and territory level.

Further information, including regional labour market information, will be available in the upcoming June 2021 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, due for release on Thursday 22 July 2021.

The ABS would like to thank Australians for their continued support in responding to our surveys during such a difficult time.

Media notes

  • The June survey reference period was 30 May to 12 June 2021 and coincided with the Victorian lockdown (which began on 28 May 2021). Restrictions in New South Wales came into effect from 23 June, which was after the June reference period. The July survey reference period is from 4 July to 17 July.
  • People in the Labour Force are either employed, or unemployed. In order to be unemployed, people must be actively looking for work, and available to start work during the reference week.
  • The ‘youth’ age group refers to 15-24 year-olds.
  • The numbers in the media release are rounded to the nearest thousand people. For more detailed numbers see the data downloads tab in the Labour Force, Australia publication.
  • The ABS has suspended publishing trend series for the COVID-19 period.
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • For media requests and interviews, contact the ABS Media Team via media@abs.gov.au (8.30am-5pm Mon-Fri).
  • Subscribe to our media release notification service to get notified of ABS media releases or publications upon their release.
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