Labour Force, Australia

Latest release

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

Reference period
October 2022
Released
17/11/2022
  • Next Release 15/12/2022
    Labour Force, Australia, November 2022
  • Next Release 19/01/2023
    Labour Force, Australia, December 2022
  • Next Release 16/02/2023
    Labour Force, Australia, January 2023
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In trend terms, in October 2022:

  • unemployment rate decreased to 3.4%.
  • participation rate remained at 66.6%.
  • employment increased to 13,623,700.
  • employment to population ratio remained at 64.3%.
  • underemployment rate remained at 6.0%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,864 million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in October 2022:

  • unemployment rate decreased to 3.4%.
  • participation rate remained at 66.5%.
  • employment increased to 13,617,900.
  • employment to population ratio increased to 64.3%.
  • underemployment rate decreased to 5.9%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,897 million.
Key statistics - Trend
Sep-2022Oct-2022Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,606,90013,623,70016,8000.1%466,8003.5%
Unemployed people486,400483,800-2,600-0.5%-153,100-24.0%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.4%0.0 ptsna-1.2 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.0%6.0%0.0 ptsna-3.3 ptsna
Participation rate66.6%66.6%0.0 ptsna0.8 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,862 million 1,864 million3 million0.1%124 million7.1%
Key statistics - Seasonally adjusted
Sep-2022Oct-2022Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,585,70013,617,90032,2000.2%762,0005.9%
Unemployed people498,100477,600-20,600-4.1%-236,200-33.1%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.4%-0.1 ptsna-1.9 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.0%5.9%-0.1 ptsna-3.5 ptsna
Participation rate66.5%66.5%0.0 ptsna1.7 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,854 million 1,897 million43 million2.3%167 million9.7%

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 Guide to labour statistics. It provides summary information on labour market topics including Industry employment data.

Articles and other information

The ABS has again included more detailed information given the interest in understanding

  • hours worked and 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, to enable more detailed analysis of changes in hours worked and the reasons that people are working reduced or no hours.

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 25 November 2022 (see Microdata: Longitudinal Labour Force, Australia).

Seasonal adjustment and trend estimates

ABS suspended the publication of Labour Force Trend estimates in April 2020, due to the large changes in the labour market during the COVID-19 period, particularly during the first two years of the pandemic (April 2020 to March 2022).

As suggested in A Guide to Interpreting Time Series, trend estimates are generally a better guide to the substantive movements in the series, and are considered the best indicator of the underlying behaviour in the labour market. 

Given this, following extensive analysis of the time series, the ABS has now reinstated Labour Force Trend estimates and reverted back to using the concurrent seasonal adjustment method (rather than using forward factors).

The ABS has also included the trend during the COVID period in the spreadsheets in this release. However, given the large month-to-month changes during the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in multiple trend breaks, the ABS recommends caution when using trend estimates during this period.

The ABS will continue to investigate methods for the identification of trend breaks as part of the upcoming Annual Seasonal Reanalysis in 2023. As part of this process, there may be larger than usual revisions, particularly for the first two years of the pandemic.

Major rebenchmarking of labour force estimates

In the November 2022 publication, to be released on 15 December 2022, the Labour Force population benchmarks will be updated to reflect the latest estimated resident population (ERP) based on the 2021 Census (preliminary rebased ERP).

This is a regular 5-yearly rebasing process which follows each Census, and ensures the Labour Force estimates are benchmarked to the most recent population information.

This process will result in revisions to Labour Force estimates going back to 2016. This follows a similar process to that undertaken in 2017.

Survey response and timeline

The October Labour Force Survey was run in respect of the two weeks from Sunday 2 October to Saturday 15 October, and collected over the period from Sunday 9 October to Saturday 29 October.

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
Sep-224th September 202217th September 202211th September 20221st October 2022
Oct-222nd October 202215th October 20229th October 202229th October 2022
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

Unemployment

In trend terms, in October 2022:

  • unemployment rate decreased to 3.4%.
  • unemployed people decreased by 2,600 to 483,800. 
  • youth unemployment rate decreased to 7.5%.

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, October 2022.

Employment

In trend terms, in October 2022, employment increased by 16,800 people (0.1%) to 13,623,700 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 October 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 September but were employed in October), while around 442,000 people left employment (i.e. they were employed in September but not employed in October). This contrasts with September 2022, where around 488,000 people entered employment and around 446,000 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, October 2022.

Full-time and part-time employment

In trend terms, in October 2022:

  • full-time employment increased by 16,800 to 9,515,400 people, and part-time employment remained at 4,108,300 people.
  • part-time share of employment was 30.2%.

 

Employment-to-population ratio

In trend terms, in October 2022, the employment-to-population ratio remained at 64.3%.

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, October 2022.

Hours worked

In trend terms, in October 2022, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 2.7 million hours (0.1%) to 1,864 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, October 2022.

Participation

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

  • remained at 66.6%.

  • remained at 71.0% for men and increased to 62.4% 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, October 2022.

Underemployment

In trend terms, in October 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, October 2022.

States and Territories

October 2022 - Trend
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,312,1003,520,2002,771,700895,6001,464,800268,100135,700237,50013,623,700
Employed people - monthly change0.3%0.0%0.0%0.3%0.0%0.3%0.2%0.3%0.1%
Employment to population ratio64.1%64.5%64.1%60.8%66.6%59.0%70.1%69.2%64.3%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.2 pts-0.1 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.2 pts0.0 pts
Unemployment rate3.2%3.5%3.4%4.0%3.5%4.2%4.0%3.1%3.4%
Unemployment rate - monthly change-0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate5.6%5.7%6.5%6.6%5.8%6.8%5.4%4.5%6.0%
Underemployment rate - monthly change-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
Participation rate66.2%66.8%66.3%63.3%69.0%61.6%73.1%71.4%66.6%
Participation rate - monthly change0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.2 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.2 pts0.0 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
September outgoing rotation groupOctober incoming rotation groupOctober outgoing rotation groupOctober estimate (Original)
Employment to population ratio66.4%66.1%62.9%64.1%
Full-time employment to population ratio46.1%46.2%43.5%44.7%
Unemployment rate2.7%3.0%3.5%3.2%
Participation rate68.2%68.2%65.2%66.3%

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 October 2022, the incoming rotation group in Western Australia had a lower employment-to-population ratio and a lower participation rate than the group it replaced. 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 (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 (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)

 

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 6202.0.

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