Unemployment rate remains at 3.5%

Media Release

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained at 3.5 per cent in September 2022, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said: "With employment increasing slightly, by around 1,000 people, and the number of unemployed increasing by 9,000, the unemployment rate rose by less than 0.1 percentage point but remained at 3.5 per cent in rounded terms."

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.6 per cent for women (up 0.1 percentage point) and remained steady for men at 3.5 per cent.

The participation rate remained steady at 66.6 per cent, in seasonally adjusted terms, consistent with the relatively small changes in employment and unemployment.

The participation rate fell slightly for women, down 0.1 percentage point to 62.3 per cent and remained steady for men at 71.0 per cent.

Employment and hours worked

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 1,000 people (0.01 per cent) in September 2022, which was less than the percentage increase in the population aged 15 and over (0.08 per cent). As a result, the employment to population ratio decreased slightly, to 64.2 per cent, but remained 1.8 percentage points higher than before the pandemic.

“It is important to remember that the 1,000 employed people is a net figure – the difference between two large numbers. While employment growth has slowed in recent months, there are still close to half a million people entering employment each month, and around the same number leaving employment each month,” Mr Jarvis said.

In line with the relatively small net change in employment, seasonally adjusted hours worked decreased by 0.6 million hours in September, less than 0.1 per cent.

Source: Labour Force, Australia Tables 1 and 19

“Some of the slowing in hours worked reflected a higher than usual number of people taking annual leave in September. This follows the past two Septembers when there were lower than usual numbers of people taking leave, given COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions,” Mr Jarvis said.

“The number of people working fewer hours because they were sick was also higher than we usually see in September, but only around 14 per cent higher. It is no longer around two to three times higher, as it was earlier in 2022.”

Source: Labour Force, Australia EM2a and Table 1

Underemployment and underutilisation

The underemployment rate remained at 6.0 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

The underutilisation rate, which combines the unemployment and underemployment rates, increased 0.1 percentage point to 9.6 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.

Reinstatement of trend estimates in this release

The ABS has resumed publishing trend estimates and reverted to using the standard concurrent seasonal adjustment method.

In September 2022, the trend unemployment rate also remained at 3.5 per cent.

From next month, the Labour Force release, including the media release, will highlight a combination of seasonally adjusted and trend estimates.

Today's release includes additional analysis of hours worked and historical charts back to 1966.

Further information, including regional labour market information, will be available in the upcoming September 2022 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, due for release on Thursday 27 October 2022.

The ABS would like to thank Australians for their continued support in responding to our surveys.

Media notes

  • The September survey reference period was from 4 September to 17 September 2022. The October survey reference period is from 2 October to 15 October 2022.
  • 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).
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