Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 17,500 people in December 2019, with:
- the number of unemployed people decreasing by 4,400 people;
- the unemployment rate decreasing by less than 0.1 pts to 5.1%;
- the underemployment rate remaining steady at 8.3%;
- the underutilisation rate remaining steady at 13.5%;
- the participation rate remaining steady at 66.0%; and
- the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 62.6%.
Over the past year, trend employment increased by 260,900 people (or 2.1%), 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 0.3 percentage points (pts) to 62.6%.
Trend employment increased by 17,500 people (0.14%) between November 2019 and December 2019. This was below the monthly average growth rate over the last 20 years of 0.16%.
Underpinning these net changes in employment is extensive dynamic change, which occurs each month in the labour market. In recent months, there has been more than 300,000 people entering and 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 8,900 people between November 2019 and December 2019, and part-time employment increased by 8,600 people. Compared to a year ago, there were 132,600 more people employed full-time and 128,300 more people employed part-time. This compositional change has led to an increase in the part-time share of employment from 31.4% to 31.8%.
The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.9 million hours (0.2%) to 1,788.2 million hours in December 2019. Over the past year, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 1.7%, below the 2.1% increase in employed people. In December 2019, the average hours worked per employed person was around 137.8 hours per month or around 31.7 hours per week.
The trend unemployment rate decreased by less than 0.1 pts to 5.1% in December 2019. The number of unemployed people decreased by 4,400 in December 2019 to 703,600 people, and by 31,400 people since December 2018.
The trend participation rate remained steady at 66.0% in December 2019, and was 0.4 pts higher than in December 2018. The female participation rate remained steady at 61.2% and the male participation rate decreased by 0.1 pts to 70.9%.
The labour force includes the total number of employed and unemployed people. Over the past 12 months, the labour force increased by 292,300 people (2.2%), which was above the rate of increase for the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (1.6%).
The trend participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (in part) for the effects of an aging population, remained steady at 78.6%. The gap between male and female participation rates in this age group was less than 10 pts, at 83.1% and 74.3% 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 remained steady at 11.6% in December 2019, and has increased by 0.2 pts since December 2018.
The trend series smooths the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.