Labour Force, Australia

Latest release

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

Reference period
March 2024
Released
18/04/2024
  • Next Release 16/05/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, April 2024
  • Next Release 13/06/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, May 2024
  • Next Release 18/07/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, June 2024
  • View all releases

Key statistics

In trend terms, in March 2024:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.9%. 
  • participation rate decreased to 66.6%.
  • employment increased to 14,259,800.
  • employment to population ratio decreased to 64.0%.
  • underemployment rate remained at 6.6%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,929 million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in March 2024:

  • unemployment rate increased to 3.8%.
  • participation rate decreased to 66.6%.
  • employment decreased to 14,259,900.
  • employment to population ratio decreased to 64.0%.
  • underemployment rate decreased to 6.5%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,956 million.
  • full-time employment increased by 27,900 to 9,853,800 people.
  • part-time employment decreased by 34,500 to 4,406,100 people.
Key statistics - Trend
Feb-24Mar-24Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people14,231,30014,259,80028,5000.2%365,8002.6%
Unemployed people575,100573,000-2,100-0.4%60,60011.8%
Unemployment rate3.9%3.9%0.0 ptsna0.3 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.6%6.6%0.0 ptsna0.4 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.6%0.0 ptsna0.1 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,928 million 1,929 million1 million0.0%2 million0.1%
Key statistics - Seasonally adjusted
Feb-24Mar-24Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people14,266,50014,259,900-6,6000.0%336,9002.4%
Unemployed people549,300569,90020,6003.7%57,30011.2%
Unemployment rate3.7%3.8%0.1 ptsna0.3 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.6%6.5%-0.1 ptsna0.2 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.6%-0.1 ptsna-0.1 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,939 million 1,956 million17 million0.9%34 million1.7%

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.

For definitions of labour statistics used in this publication, please refer to Glossary of Labour Force, Australia methodology.

Survey impacts and changes

Upcoming release of enhanced regional labour force estimates

On 2 May 2024, the ABS will commence releasing monthly modelled regional estimates, as an update to Labour Force, Australia Detailed. These estimates, which will provide a better picture of regional employment and unemployment than the existing regional data, will be added to Labour Force, Australia Detailed a week after release each month. The release will be accompanied by updated advice on using regional labour statistics.

Further information on the modelled estimates can be found in Improving SA4 level estimates from the Labour Force Survey using administrative data models and Further refinements to modelled SA4 level Labour Force estimates using administrative data.

Seasonal adjustment and trend estimates

The ABS will be undertaking an ‘Annual Series Review’ (ASR) of Labour Force series, ahead of the release of April 2024 data (on 16 May 2024). The ASR, which complements the regular monthly analysis, assesses the appropriateness of seasonal adjustment parameters and prior corrections. The outcome of this process will be summarised in a future release.

New Labour Force Survey sample phase-in

Since July 2018, the Labour Force Survey sample has been selected using information collected in the 2016 Census of Population and Housing.  The quality of the Labour Force sample is maintained by updating it with information from the most recent Census.

From September 2023, the sample frame has been updated with information from the 2021 Census, with sample selection from the new sample being phased in over eight months from September 2023 to April 2024.

This update is expected to have minimal impact on sample selection, and as with previous sample changes, will be monitored.

For more information please refer to Sample Design of Labour Force, Australia Methodology.

Survey response and timeline

The March Labour Force Survey was run in respect of the two weeks from Sunday 3 March to Saturday 16 March, and collected over the period from Sunday 10 March to Saturday 30 March.

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
Feb-244th February 202417th February 202411th February 20242nd March 2024
Mar-243rd March 202416th March 202410th March 202430th March 2024
Apr-2431st March 202413th April 20247th April 202427th April 2024
May-2428th April 202411th May 20245th May 202425th May 2024
Jun-242nd June 202415th June 20249th June 202429th June 2024
Jul-2430th June 202413th July 20247th July 202427th July 2024

Unemployment

In trend terms, in March 2024:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.9%.
  • unemployed people decreased by 2,100 to 573,000. 
  • youth unemployment rate remained at 9.5%.

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, March 2024.

Employment

In trend terms, in March 2024, employment increased by 28,500 people (0.2%) to 14,259,800 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 March 2024, the net change in the number of employed people is the result of around 453,000 people entering employment (i.e. they were not employed in February 2024 but were employed in March 2024), while around 521,000 people left employment (i.e. they were employed in February 2024 but not employed in March 2024). This contrasts with February 2024, where around 880,000 people entered employment and around 428,000 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, March 2024.

Full-time and part-time employment

In trend terms, in March 2024:

  • full-time employment increased by 20,400 to 9,838,600 people, and part-time employment increased by 8,100 to 4,421,200 people.
  • part-time share of employment was 31.0%. 

 

Employment-to-population ratio

In trend terms, in March 2024, the employment-to-population ratio decreased to 64.0%.

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, March 2024.

Hours worked

In trend terms, in March 2024, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 0.7 million hours (0.0%) to 1,929 million hours.

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, March 2024.

Participation

In trend terms, in March 2024, the participation rate:

  • decreased to 66.6%.
  • remained at 70.6% for men and remained at 62.8% 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, March 2024.

Underemployment

In trend terms, in March 2024:

  • underemployment rate remained at 6.6%.
  • underutilisation rate decreased to 10.4%.

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. Information on trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, March 2024.

States and Territories

March 2024 - Trend
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,429,2003,701,7002,905,200942,2001,599,900282,200139,600265,30014,259,800
Employed people - monthly change0.1%0.3%0.3%-0.1%0.4%0.0%0.5%0.1%0.2%
Employment to population ratio63.6%64.5%64.0%60.5%66.6%58.6%70.8%68.9%64.0%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.2 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.3 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts
Unemployment rate3.7%4.0%4.1%3.8%3.6%4.0%4.3%3.9%3.9%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate6.5%7.1%6.6%7.1%5.8%7.3%4.2%5.4%6.6%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts-0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
Participation rate66.1%67.2%66.7%62.9%69.0%61.0%73.9%71.7%66.6%
Participation rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.2 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.2 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts
March 2024 - Seasonally adjusted
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,433,3003,706,6002,901,200939,2001,602,600282,500139,700267,90014,259,900
Employed people - monthly change0.4%0.2%-0.4%-1.0%0.0%0.6%0.2%1.2%0.0%
Employment to population ratio63.6%64.6%63.9%60.3%66.6%58.7%70.7%69.5%64.0%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.1 pts-0.1 pts-0.4 pts-0.7 pts-0.2 pts0.3 pts0.0 pts0.7 pts-0.2 pts
Unemployment rate3.8%4.1%4.1%3.9%3.4%3.8%3.8%2.9%3.8%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.2 pts0.2 pts0.2 pts0.6 pts-0.2 pts-0.7 pts-0.6 pts-1.2 pts0.1 pts
Underemployment rate6.7%7.2%6.1%7.1%5.4%7.3%4.2%5.5%6.5%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.4 pts0.1 pts-0.7 pts-0.2 pts-0.9 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.6 pts-0.1 pts
Participation rate66.1%67.3%66.6%62.7%69.0%61.0%73.5%71.6%66.6%
Participation rate - monthly change0.2 pts0.0 pts-0.3 pts-0.3 pts-0.3 pts-0.1 pts-0.5 pts-0.2 pts-0.1 pts

Historical charts

Historical charts for employed, unemployed, unemployment rate and participation rate from August 1966 to March 2024

Historical Labour Force estimates of employment, unemployment rate, and participation rate from the historical quarterly and monthly Labour Force Survey.

Prior to 1978 the historical Labour Force Survey was collected quarterly; the current Labour Force Survey is collected monthly. Please refer to the history of changes to see the differences between the historical and current Labour Force Survey.