Unemployment rate at 5.2% despite jobs growth

Australia’s jobless rate remained stagnant amid an increase in vacancies

Unemployment rate at 5.2% despite jobs growth

Despite the addition of 42,300 jobs in May, Australia’s unemployment rate held steady for another month at 5.2%, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Statistics

The jobless rate remained stagnant amid an increase in vacancies since most employable Australians were already working or actively searching for a job; the labour force participation rate was at 66%.

While the number of full-time posts increased by 2,400, a greater portion of the jobs generated in May were part-time positions totalling 39,800.

“The vast majority of jobs created were part time, and as a result, the underemployment rate ticked up again, to 8.6%,” said Sarah Hunter, chief economist at BIS Oxford Economics.

In the past 12 months, however, Australia generated a total of 266,000 full-time jobs. “On a trend basis, growth in full-time employment remains robust,” Hunter said.

The increase in part-time work may also be attributed to the recent election season in which additional manpower was deployed during polling and counting.

“Clearly, there are temporary jobs created each three years for election-related roles,” said Craig James, chief economist at Commonwealth Securities.

Hiring may also slow down in the coming months if a decline in the number of job advertisements is any indication. Job listings on the website Seek – which reportedly advertises a third of all job openings across the country – fell 6.5% in May from the previous year.

Employment appears to hold steady, however, in the education, health care, agricultural, mining and energy sectors where job ads have continued to rise.

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