Labour Force, Australia

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

Reference period
March 2023
Released
13/04/2023

Key statistics

In trend terms, in March 2023:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • participation rate increased to 66.8%.
  • employment increased to 13,883,100.
  • employment to population ratio remained at 64.4%.
  • underemployment rate increased to 6.1%.
  • monthly hours worked increased to 1,910 million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, in March 2023:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • participation rate remained at 66.7%.
  • employment increased to 13,884,400.
  • employment to population ratio increased to 64.4%.
  • underemployment rate increased to 6.2%.
  • monthly hours worked decreased to 1,914 million.
  • full-time employment increased by 72,200 to 9,748,900 people.
  • part-time employment decreased by 19,200 to 4,135,600 people.
Key statistics - Trend
Feb-2023Mar-2023Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,851,40013,883,10031,7000.2%415,6003.1%
Unemployed people507,900508,5006000.1%-41,000-7.5%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.5%0.0 ptsna-0.4 ptsna
Underemployment rate6.0%6.1%0.0 ptsna-0.3 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.8%0.0 ptsna0.2 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,905 million 1,910 million5 million0.2%75 million4.1%
Key statistics - Seasonally adjusted
Feb-2023Mar-2023Monthly changeMonthly change (%)Yearly changeYearly change (%)
Employed people13,831,40013,884,40053,0000.4%437,7003.3%
Unemployed people508,600507,000-1,600-0.3%-41,400-7.5%
Unemployment rate3.5%3.5%0.0 ptsna-0.4 ptsna
Underemployment rate5.8%6.2%0.4 ptsna-0.1 ptsna
Participation rate66.7%66.7%0.1 ptsna0.4 ptsna
Monthly hours worked in all jobs 1,917 million 1,914 million-3 million-0.2%100 million5.5%

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

Articles and other information

The ABS has again published Insights into hours worked, March 2023 (along with data cubes EM2a and EM2b, which are usually published in the detailed release).

As Labour Force hours worked data are returning to normal patterns, the ABS is planning to cease publishing 'insights into hours worked' after the April 2023 publication, to be released on 18 May 2023. The data cubes EM2a and EM2b will continue to be published with the release of headline estimates until the end of the winter months in 2023 (exact timing to be confirmed) to enable more detailed analysis of changes in hours worked and the reasons that people are working reduced hours.

The historical charts that were previously published as separate articles have been incorporated into Historical charts on this page.

Seasonal adjustment and trend estimates

The ABS will be undertaking an ‘Annual Series Review’ of Labour Force series, ahead of the release of April 2023 data (on 18 May 2023). The outcome of this process will be summarised in a future release.

Survey response and timeline

The March Labour Force Survey was run in respect of the two weeks from Sunday 26 February to Saturday 11 March, and collected over the period from Sunday 5 March to Saturday 25 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-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
May-2330th April 202313th May 20237th May 202327th May 2023
Jun-234th June 202317th June 202311th June 20231st July 2023
Jul-232nd July 202315th July 20239th July 202329th July 2023

Unemployment

In trend terms, in March 2023:

  • unemployment rate remained at 3.5%.
  • unemployed people increased by 600 to 508,500. 
  • youth unemployment rate remained at 7.8%.

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 2023.

Employment

In trend terms, in March 2023, employment increased by 31,700 people (0.2%) to 13,883,100 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 2023, the net change in the number of employed people is the result of around 491,000 people entering employment (i.e. they were not employed in February but were employed in March), while around 488,000 people left employment (i.e. they were employed in February but not employed in March). This contrasts with February 2023, where around 756,000 people entered employment and around 419,000 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 2023.

Full-time and part-time employment

In trend terms, in March 2023:

  • full-time employment increased by 30,000 to 9,729,200 people, and part-time employment increased by 1,700 to 4,153,900 people.
  • part-time share of employment was 29.9%.

 

Employment-to-population ratio

In trend terms, in March 2023, 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, March 2023.

Hours worked

In trend terms, in March 2023, monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 4.8 million hours (0.2%) to 1,910 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, March 2023.

Participation

In trend terms, in March 2023, the participation rate:

  • increased to 66.8%.
  • remained at 71.3% for men and remained at 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, March 2023.

Underemployment

In trend terms, in March 2023:

  • underemployment rate increased to 6.1%.
  • underutilisation rate remained at 9.6%.

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. A list of trend breaks can be found in Labour Force, Australia methodology, March 2023.

States and Territories

March 2023 - Trend
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,317,0003,587,9002,801,400941,1001,524,100291,800142,100265,00013,883,100
Employed people - monthly change0.0%0.4%0.2%0.4%0.3%0.4%0.7%0.4%0.2%
Employment to population ratio63.8%64.8%63.8%61.6%66.5%60.6%72.8%70.7%64.4%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change-0.1 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts0.1 pts0.4 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
Unemployment rate3.2%3.7%3.8%3.9%3.6%3.8%3.8%2.9%3.5%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate5.9%6.1%6.4%7.1%5.7%7.6%4.2%4.7%6.1%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.0 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.3 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts
Participation rate66.0%67.3%66.3%64.1%69.0%63.0%75.6%72.8%66.8%
Participation rate - monthly change-0.1 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts0.1 pts0.4 pts0.1 pts0.0 pts
March 2023 - Seasonally adjusted
New South WalesVictoriaQueenslandSouth AustraliaWestern AustraliaTasmaniaNorthern TerritoryAustralian Capital TerritoryAustralia
Employed people4,308,7003,612,9002,804,200948,6001,527,600294,300141,900264,80013,884,400
Employed people - monthly change-0.5%1.1%0.9%1.2%0.5%2.7%0.1%-0.4%0.4%
Employment to population ratio63.7%65.3%63.8%62.1%66.7%61.2%72.6%70.6%64.4%
Employment to population ratio - monthly change-0.5 pts0.5 pts0.4 pts0.6 pts0.2 pts1.5 pts0.0 pts-0.5 pts0.1 pts
Unemployment rate3.3%3.6%3.9%3.7%3.4%4.0%3.5%2.8%3.5%
Unemployment rate - monthly change0.1 pts-0.1 pts0.1 pts-0.1 pts-0.4 pts0.4 pts-1.1 pts-0.1 pts0.0 pts
Underemployment rate6.2%6.2%6.5%7.3%5.7%7.4%3.7%4.3%6.2%
Underemployment rate - monthly change0.2 pts0.9 pts0.2 pts0.4 pts0.0 pts0.0 pts-0.3 pts-1.8 pts0.4 pts
Participation rate65.9%67.7%66.4%64.5%69.1%63.7%75.2%72.6%66.7%
Participation rate - monthly change-0.4 pts0.5 pts0.5 pts0.6 pts-0.1 pts1.8 pts-0.9 pts-0.6 pts0.1 pts

Historical charts

Historical charts for employed, unemployed, unemployment rate and participation rate from August 1966 to March 2023

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.