Labour Force, Australia

Latest release

Headline estimates of employment, unemployment, underemployment, participation and hours worked from the monthly Labour Force Survey

Reference period
December 2022
Released
19/01/2023
  • Next Release 16/02/2023
    Labour Force, Australia, January 2023
  • Next Release 16/03/2023
    Labour Force, Australia, February 2023
  • Next Release 13/04/2023
    Labour Force, Australia, March 2023
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In trend terms, in December 2022:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • participation rate remained at 66.7%.
  • employment increased to 13,765,200.
  • employment to population ratio remained at 64.4%.
  • underemployment rate remained at 6.0%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,890 million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in December 2022:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • participation rate decreased to 66.6%.
  • employment decreased to 13,747,100.
  • employment to population ratio decreased to 64.3%.
  • underemployment rate increased to 6.1%.
  • monthly hours worked decreased to 1,888 million.
  • full-time employment increased by 17,600 to 9,619,000 people.
  • part-time employment decreased by 32,200 to 4,128,100 people.
Key statistics - Trend
Nov-2022Dec-2022Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,738,70013,765,20026,5000.2%469,7003.5%
Unemployed people492,600494,2001,6000.3%-100,600-16.9%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.5%0.0 ptsna-0.8 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.0%6.0%0.0 ptsna-0.6 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.7%0.0 ptsna0.4 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,886 million 1,890 million5 million0.3%72 million4.0%
Key statistics - Seasonally adjusted
Nov-2022Dec-2022Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,761,70013,747,100-14,600-0.1%452,0003.4%
Unemployed people494,000499,8005,8001.2%-77,900-13.5%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.5%0.0 ptsna-0.7 ptsna
Underemployment rate5.8%6.1%0.2 ptsna-0.5 ptsna
Participation rate66.8%66.6%-0.2 ptsna0.4 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,897 million 1,888 million-9 million-0.5%59 million3.2%

Estimates of changes throughout this release are calculated using un-rounded level estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, movements obtained from the rounded level estimates.

Survey impacts and changes

Guide to labour statistics

To learn more about our different labour measures, their purpose and how to use them, see our new Guide to labour statistics. It provides summary information on key labour market topics including Industry employment data.

Labour Force, Australia, Detailed to be released on 25 January 2023

Due to the Australia Day public holiday on 26 January 2023, the Labour Force, Australia, Detailed publication will be released on Wednesday 25 January 2023.

Articles and other information

The ABS has again included more detailed information given the interest in understanding COVID-related impacts on hours worked, and historical comparisons with the labour market before the monthly Labour Force Survey commenced in 1978.

This detailed information can be found in:

For a list of previously published LFS articles, see the Article archive.

The ABS is also continuing to include data cubes EM2a and EM2b in this release. These two data cubes are usually only released in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, but will continue to be released in the headline release over the coming months.

Additional spreadsheets and pivot tables are published in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed one week after this release, while longitudinal labour force microdata are released in the ABS DataLab, on 27 January 2023 (see Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia).

Survey response and timeline

The December Labour Force Survey was run in respect of the two weeks from Sunday 27 November to Saturday 10 December, and collected over the period from Sunday 4 December to Thursday 22 December.

The ABS would like to thank Australians for their continued support in responding to our surveys, given how critically important this information is.

Reference and Enumeration Dates
PublicationStart of Reference WeekEnd of Reference WeekStart of EnumerationEnd of Enumeration
Nov-2230th October 202212th November 20226th November 202226th November 2022
Dec-2227th November 202210th December 20224th December 202222nd December 2022
Jan-231st January 202314th January 20238th January 202328th January 2023
Feb-2329th January 202311th February 20235th February 202325th February 2023
Mar-2326th February 202311th March 20235th March 202325th March 2023
Apr-232nd April 202315th April 20239th April 202329th April 2023

Unemployment

In trend terms, in December 2022:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • unemployed people increased by 1,600 to 494,200. 
  • youth unemployment rate decreased to 7.6%.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

Employment

In trend terms, in December 2022, employment increased by 26,500 people (0.2%) to 13,765,200 people.

Flows into and out of employment

Flows into and out of employment are extensive and are based on the net matched sample of original employment growth between two consecutive months (around 80% of the sample). The (net) sum of the inflows and outflows does not necessarily equal the 'net' employment growth.

For December 2022, the net change in the number of employed people is the result of around 449,000 people entering employment (i.e. they were not employed in November but were employed in December), while around 418,000 people left employment (i.e. they were employed in November but not employed in December). This contrasts with November 2022, where around 479,000 people entered employment and around 405,000 people left employment.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

Full-time and part-time employment

In trend terms, in December 2022:

  • full-time employment increased by 25,700 to 9,618,500 people, and part-time employment increased by 800 to 4,146,700 people.
  • part-time share of employment was 30.1%.

 

Employment-to-population ratio

In trend terms, in December 2022, the employment-to-population ratio remained at 64.4%.

The employment-to-population ratio provides a measure of employment relative to the size of the population.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

Hours worked

In trend terms, in December 2022, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.7 million hours (0.3%) to 1,890 million hours.

See the article Insights into hours worked for more.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

Participation

In trend terms, in December 2022, the participation rate:

  • remained at 66.7%.

  • remained at 71.2% for men and remained at 62.3% for women.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

Underemployment

In trend terms, in December 2022:

  • underemployment rate remained at 6.0%.
  • underutilisation rate remained at 9.4%.

Large month-to-month changes occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks. The ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates published in spreadsheets in this release for this period. A list of trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, December 2022.

States and Territories

December 2022 - Trend
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,314,0003,517,9002,786,500923,6001,516,700290,300141,300259,50013,765,200
Employed people - monthly change0.4%0.2%0.0%0.2%0.2%0.4%0.3%0.3%0.2%
Employment to population ratio64.4%64.3%63.8%61.0%66.6%60.3%71.0%70.0%64.4%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
Unemployment rate3.2%3.5%3.6%4.0%3.6%3.8%3.9%2.9%3.5%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate5.6%6.0%6.6%7.1%5.7%7.2%5.3%4.5%6.0%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.2 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Participation rate66.5%66.6%66.1%63.5%69.1%62.7%74.0%72.1%66.7%
Participation rate - monthly change0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
December 2022 - Seasonally adjusted
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,309,2003,519,9002,784,000923,4001,515,300290,300141,600261,30013,747,100
Employed people - monthly change-0.3%-0.4%-0.2%0.3%0.3%-0.6%-1.5%1.0%-0.1%
Employment to population ratio64.3%64.3%63.7%61.0%66.6%60.3%71.4%70.4%64.3%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change-0.3 pts-0.4 pts-0.2 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts-0.5 pts-1.2 pts0.6 pts-0.2 pts
Unemployment rate3.1%3.5%3.8%3.9%3.5%3.6%4.0%2.8%3.5%
Unemployment rate - monthly change-0.1 pts-0.2 pts0.5 pts-0.1 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts0.7 pts0.3 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate5.8%6.2%6.5%7.9%5.7%7.4%5.4%4.5%6.1%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.6 pts0.4 pts0.0 pts1.0 pts0.2 pts0.5 pts0.9 pts0.0 pts0.2 pts
Participation rate66.3%66.6%66.3%63.5%69.0%62.6%74.4%72.5%66.6%
Participation rate - monthly change-0.4 pts-0.5 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.2 pts-0.5 pts-0.7 pts0.8 pts-0.2 pts

Rotation group analysis

Sample composition and rotation

The Labour Force Survey sample can be thought of as comprising eight sub-samples (rotation groups), with each sub-sample remaining in the survey for eight months, and one group "rotating out" each month and being replaced by a new group "rotating in". As seven-eighths of the sample are common from one month to the next, changes in the estimates reflect real changes in the labour market, rather than changes in the sample. The replacement sample is generally selected from the same geographic areas as the outgoing one, as part of a representative sampling approach.

The sample comprises three components:

  • the matched common sample (people who responded in both the current month and previous month)
  • the unmatched common sample (people who responded in the current month but who did not respond in the previous month, or vice versa)
  • the incoming rotation group (replacing people who rotated out)

The matched common sample describes the change observed for the same respondents in the current and previous month, while the other two components reflect differences between the aggregate labour force status of different groups of people.

While the rotation groups are designed to be representative of the population, the outgoing and incoming rotation groups will almost always have somewhat different characteristics, as they reflect different households and people. The design of the survey, including the weighting and estimation processes, ensures that these differences are generally relatively minor and do not affect the representativeness of the survey and its estimates. Monthly estimates are designed to be representative, regardless of the relative contribution of the three components of the sample.

The contributions of the three sample components to the original estimates of employed, unemployed and not in the labour force are in the Contribution from sample components to estimates spreadsheet.

Estimates for the incoming and outgoing rotation groups

Incoming and outgoing rotation groups
November outgoing rotation groupDecember incoming rotation groupDecember outgoing rotation groupDecember estimate (Original)
Employment to population ratio62.9%64.5%64.9%64.9%
Full-time employment to population ratio44.4%45.4%45.8%45.7%
Unemployment rate3.2%3.8%3.5%3.3%
Participation rate65.0%67.1%67.2%67.1%

States and Territories

In addition to analysis across the entire sample, the ABS also undertakes similar analysis for the responding sample in each state and territory each month, and highlights where there is a notable change for users to be aware of. For example, in December 2022, the incoming rotation group in Queensland had a higher unemployment rate than the group it replaced. The unemployment rate of the incoming rotation group in Queensland was the highest among all the rotation groups in Queensland. As with any notable month-to-month movement of this nature in state and territory estimates, the ABS recommends exercising a degree of caution in interpreting short-term changes.

As for its reporting for the entire sample, where the ABS has not highlighted a notable incoming rotation group effect, any larger changes should therefore be considered to reflect a broader change across the sample.

Comparability with seasonally adjusted and trend data

The gross flows and rotation group data are in original terms only, and are included to provide additional information on the month-to-month movements. They have a considerable level of inherent sampling variability, which is specifically adjusted for in the trend and seasonally adjusted series. The trend data provides the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market and is the focus of the commentary in this publication.

Contribution from sample components to estimates

Data downloads

Labour Force Survey results are released in three stages.

  1. Spreadsheets of the headline indicators are published in this release
  2. Additional, more detailed spreadsheets and pivot tables are published in Labour Force, Australia, Detailed one week after this first release
  3. Longitudinal labour force microdata are released in the ABS DataLab on a monthly basis, one day after the detailed release (see Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia)

See the Survey output section of Labour Force, Australia methodology for more information.

Labour Force status

Data files

Hours worked

Data files

Underemployment and underutilisation

Data files

Flows into and out of employment

GM1 - Labour force status and Gross changes (flows) by Age, Sex, State and Territory, February 1991 onwards

All time series spreadsheets

All time series spreadsheets


 

Data Explorer datasets

Caution: Data in the Data Explorer is currently released after the 11:30am release on the ABS website. Please check the time period when using Data Explorer.

For information on Data Explorer and how it works, see the Data Explorer user guide.

Labour force status by Sex, State and Territory - Number of people employed, unemployed and not in the labour force, monthly, February 1978 and onwards.

Article archive

Employment and jobs

Charts on casual employment, occupation, industry and job mobility (November 2022)

Charts on casual employment, occupation, industry and job mobility (August 2022)

Charts on casual employment, occupation and industry (May 2022)

Insights into job mobility from quarterly Labour Force Statistics (February 2022)

Charts on casual employment, occupation and industry (February 2022)

Insights into job mobility from quarterly Labour Force statistics (December 2021)

Charts on casual employment, occupation and industry (November 2021)

Charts on casual employment, occupation and industry (August 2021)

Charts on casual employment, occupation and industry (May 2021)

Changing female employment over time (February 2021)

Insights into casual employment, occupation and industry (November 2020)

Strong employment growth for non-employees (August 2020)

State and territory employment and hours worked (August 2020)

Employment and unemployment: An International Perspective (August 2020)

Flows into and out of employment and unemployment (June 2020)

Insights into industry and occupation (May 2020)

Employment and unemployment: An international perspective (May 2020)

Employment and unemployment: An international perspective (April 2020)

People moving into or out of employment or unemployment every month (March 2020)

How many people work one hour a week (January 2019)

Leave entitlements (November 2015)

Duration of employment (November 2015)

Sector of main job (November 2015)

Estimating jobs in the Australian labour market (February 2013)

Employment in mining in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia (May 2012)

Unemployment and underemployment

Hours worked

Insights into hours worked (November 2022)

Insights into hours worked (October 2022)

Insights into hours worked (September 2022)

Insights into hours worked (August 2022)

Insights into hours worked (July 2022)

Insight into hours worked (June 2022)

Insight into hours worked (May 2022)

Insight into hours worked (April 2022)

Insights into hours worked (March 2022)

Insights into hours worked (February 2022)

Insights into hours worked (January 2022)

Insights into hours worked (December 2021)

Insights into hours worked (November 2021)

Insights into hours worked (October 2021)

Insights into hours worked (September 2021)

Insights into hours worked (August 2021)

Insights into hours worked (July 2021)

Insights into hours worked (June 2021)

Insights into hours worked (May 2021)

Insights into hours worked (April 2021)

Insights into hours worked (March 2021)

How many people work one hour a week? (March 2021)

Insights into hours worked (February 2021)

Insights into hours worked (January 2021)

Insights into hours worked (December 2020)

Insights into hours worked (November 2020)

Insights into hours worked (October 2020)

Insights into hours worked (September 2020)

Insights into hours worked (August 2020)

State and territory employment and hours worked (August 2020)

Insights into hours worked (July 2020)

Insights into hours worked (June 2020)

Hours not worked - Hours-based measures of unemployment and underemployment (May 2020)

Insights into hours worked (May 2020)

People working fewer hours (April 2020)

Insights into hours worked (April 2020)

Reasons for working fewer hours (March 2020)

Insights into hours worked (March 2020)

Insights into detailed Labour Force Survey hours worked data (February 2020)

Revisions to monthly hours worked in all jobs (July 2016)

 

Methodology

Major Rebenchmarking of Labour Force Estimates (November 2022)

Improvement to the trending method for Labour Force rates and ratios (October 2019)

Assessing volatility in Labour Force statistics (July 2019)

On-line collection in the Labour Force Survey (April 2019)

Annual seasonal re-analysis (March 2019)

Improvements to trend estimation (March 2018)

Major re-benchmarking of Labour Force series (October 2017)

Changes to filter lengths used in labour statistics (February 2017)

Update on recommendation 7 from the independent technical review (November 2015)

Progress with recommendations from the independent technical review (July 2015)

Update on recommendations 10 and 11 from the independent technical review (June 2015)

Update on recommendation 7 from the independent technical review (May 2015)

Update on recommendations from the independent technical review (March 2015)

Rebenchmarking Labour Force estimates (February 2015)

Independent technical review into the Labour Force Survey (November 2014)

Removing the effect of supplementary surveys from seasonally adjusted estimates (October 2014)

Rebenchmarking Labour Force estimates to the 2011 Census (January 2014)

New Labour Force sample design (May 2013)

Transition to online collection of the Labour Force survey (April 2013)

Rebenchmarking of Labour Force series (November 2012)

Population benchmarks and Labour Force Survey (April 2012)

Historical revisions (February 2011)

Impact of the floods on the Labour Force Survey (January 2011)

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6202.0.

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