Aug 18, 2017
Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 per cent with the creation of nearly 28,000 jobs in July.
The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revised up June’s unemployment figure to 5.7 per cent, but the more stable trend figures, preferred by the ABS, remained steady at 5.6 per cent.
The participation rate rose slightly to 65.1 per cent, meaning more people were in work or looking for it, but the job creation last month was all part-time, with 20,300 full-time positions lost.
That translated to a 0.8 per cent fall in total hours worked last month.
However, Bureau of Statistics chief economist Bruce Hockman said the more stable trend figures for full-time employment rose for the 10th straight month.
“Full-time employment has now increased by around 220,000 persons since September 2016, and makes up the majority of the 250,000 person increase in employment over the period,” he noted in the report.
TD Securities chief Asia-Pacific strategist Annette Beacher said the trend towards full-time jobs (up to the latest sector data from May) had been concentrated in some boom industries.
“The acceleration in full-time jobs has been skewed towards professionals, construction and health, while part-time jobs tend to be skewed towards retail and health,” she noted.
The ABS said a 2.2 per cent rise in trend employment over the past year is above the average over the past two decades of 1.9 per cent, pointing to a reasonably health labour market.
Employment growth was also stronger than working-age population growth (1.6 per cent) which saw the employment-to-population ratio rise to 61.4 per cent — the highest it has been since April 2013.