Labour Force, Australia

Latest release

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

Reference period
February 2024
Released
21/03/2024
  • Next Release 18/04/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, March 2024
  • Next Release 16/05/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, April 2024
  • Next Release 13/06/2024
    Labour Force, Australia, May 2024
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Key statistics

In trend terms, in February 2024:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.8%. 
  • participation rate decreased to 66.6%.
  • employment increased to 14,232,300.
  • employment to population ratio remained at 64.1%.
  • underemployment rate remained at 6.6%.
  • monthly hours worked decreased to 1,909 million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in February 2024:

  • unemployment rate decreased to 3.7%.
  • participation rate increased to 66.7%.
  • employment increased to 14,269,600.
  • employment to population ratio increased to 64.2%.
  • underemployment rate decreased to 6.6%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,933 million.
  • full-time employment increased by 78,200 to 9,824,900 people.
  • part-time employment increased by 38,300 to 4,444,700 people.
Key statistics - Trend
Jan-24Feb-24Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people14,205,60014,232,30026,6000.2%379,9002.7%
Unemployed people565,700562,200-3,500-0.6%52,40010.3%
Unemployment rate3.8%3.8%0.0 ptsna0.3 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.6%6.6%0.0 ptsna0.5 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.6%0.0 ptsna0.1 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,913 million 1,909 million-4 million-0.2%-11 million-0.6%
Key statistics - Seasonally adjusted
Jan-24Feb-24Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people14,153,10014,269,600116,5000.8%437,1003.2%
Unemployed people600,200548,300-52,000-8.7%35,0006.8%
Unemployment rate4.1%3.7%-0.4 ptsna0.1 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.7%6.6%-0.1 ptsna0.7 ptsna
Participation rate66.6%66.7%0.1 ptsna0.3 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,879 million 1,933 million53 million2.8%15 million0.8%

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

Article

As part of ongoing improvements to the estimation method for Labour Force statistics, in this month’s release, the ABS has implemented some minor changes in how it accounts for some relatively small population groups within the sample. This has resulted in revisions to the original Labour Force series from August 2016. Revision analysis from improvements to Labour Force estimation method provides with an impact analysis of the expected improvements to the Labour Force estimates.

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

Quarterly rebenchmarking of labour force statistics

The ABS has revised the original Labour Force series from July 2022 to reflect the latest available preliminary and final estimates of the Estimated Resident Population. This quarterly process ensures that the Labour Force series promptly reflect any change in population trends and minimises the size of revisions that can occur when the series are rebenchmarked following each Census of Population and Housing.

The usual resident civilian population in December 2023 was revised down by around 0.1% (around 17,000 people).

Revisions to original series also result in revisions to seasonally adjusted series.

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 utilises the context gained from an additional year of original data to assess 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.

Update on enhanced regional labour market data

As part of ongoing improvements to the estimation method for Labour Force statistics, the ABS is also developing improved monthly regional labour force estimates.

The first monthly release of the new modelled SA4 estimates will be in early May 2024, one week after the release of March 2024 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, with March 2024 being the latest month of data available.

Survey response and timeline

The February Labour Force Survey was run in respect of the two weeks from Sunday 4 February to Saturday 17 February, and collected over the period from Sunday 11 February to Saturday 2 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
Jan-2431st December 202313th January 20247th January 202427th January 2024
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

Unemployment

In trend terms, in February 2024:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.8%.
  • unemployed people decreased by 3,500 to 562,200. 
  • youth unemployment rate remained at 9.3%.

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, February 2024.

Employment

In trend terms, in February 2024, employment increased by 26,600 people (0.2%) to 14,232,300 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 February 2024, the net change in the number of employed people is the result of around 880,000 people entering employment (i.e. they were not employed in January 2024 but were employed in February 2024), while around 428,000 people left employment (i.e. they were employed in January 2024 but not employed in February 2024). This contrasts with January 2023, where around 425,000 people entered employment and around 834,000 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, February 2024.

Full-time and part-time employment

In trend terms, in February 2024:

  • full-time employment increased by 13,000 to 9,809,000 people, and part-time employment increased by 13,700 to 4,423,300 people.
  • part-time share of employment was 31.1%.

 

Employment-to-population ratio

In trend terms, in February 2024, the employment-to-population ratio remained at 64.1%.

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, February 2024.

Hours worked

In trend terms, in February 2024, monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased by 4.1 million hours (-0.2%) to 1,909 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, February 2024.

Participation

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

  • decreased to 66.6%.
  • decreased to 70.5% for men and decreased to 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, February 2024.

Underemployment

In trend terms, in February 2024:

  • underemployment rate remained at 6.6%.
  • underutilisation rate remained at 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, February 2024.

States and Territories

February 2024 - Trend
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,419,4003,692,4002,903,700945,6001,590,400281,800138,900264,50014,232,300
Employed people - monthly change0.1%0.2%0.4%-0.1%0.4%-0.1%0.6%-0.1%0.2%
Employment to population ratio63.6%64.6%64.2%60.8%66.4%58.6%70.5%68.9%64.1%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.4 pts-0.2 pts0.0 pts
Unemployment rate3.6%3.9%4.0%3.8%3.8%4.3%4.5%4.2%3.8%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate6.4%7.1%6.9%7.3%6.2%7.2%4.0%5.0%6.6%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Participation rate66.0%67.2%66.8%63.2%69.0%61.2%73.8%71.9%66.6%
Participation rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts-0.2 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts0.4 pts-0.2 pts0.0 pts
February 2024 - Seasonally adjusted
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,416,7003,700,7002,910,900949,9001,601,700280,800139,400264,40014,269,600
Employed people - monthly change0.6%0.8%1.0%1.2%1.7%-0.1%0.9%1.3%0.8%
Employment to population ratio63.5%64.7%64.3%61.1%66.8%58.3%70.7%68.8%64.2%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change0.3 pts0.3 pts0.5 pts0.6 pts0.9 pts-0.1 pts0.5 pts0.7 pts0.4 pts
Unemployment rate3.6%3.9%3.9%3.2%3.6%4.5%4.4%4.2%3.7%
Unemployment rate - monthly change-0.5 pts-0.1 pts-0.1 pts-0.8 pts-0.7 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts-0.1 pts-0.4 pts
Underemployment rate6.3%7.1%6.9%7.3%6.4%7.3%4.1%4.8%6.6%
Underemployment rate - monthly change-0.3 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.5 pts0.3 pts0.5 pts0.4 pts-0.7 pts-0.1 pts
Participation rate65.9%67.3%66.9%63.1%69.3%61.1%73.9%71.8%66.7%
Participation rate - monthly change-0.1 pts0.3 pts0.4 pts0.1 pts0.4 pts-0.1 pts0.5 pts0.6 pts0.1 pts

Historical charts

Historical charts for employed, unemployed, unemployment rate and participation rate from August 1966 to February 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.