Unemployment rate declines to 3.7% in February: ABS

People with job offers in December, January officially started in February

Unemployment rate declines to 3.7% in February: ABS

Australia's unemployment rate went down in February as people who were waiting to start a job in the previous months began working, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.7%, down by 0.4% percentage points from the previous month.

The number of unemployed individuals dropped by 52,000 people, while the number of people who began working expanded by a massive 116,000.

The ABS attributed the surge in employment to the high number of people in December and January who already had received a job offer and were just waiting to start work in February.

Because of the situation, the monthly hours worked also went up by 2.8% in February, according to the ABS.

"This followed a six-month period since July of generally declining hours worked. Hours worked in February were around where they had been in August, but still below where they had been in the middle of 2023," said Bjorn Jarvis, ABS head of labour statistics, in a statement.

Underemployment fell to 6.6%, while underutilisation dropped to 10.3% in February.

Lowest unemployment rate

By region, South Australia recorded the lowest unemployment rate across the country with 3.2%, making it and Western Australia (3.6%) the only states with lower-than-average unemployment rates.

Source: South Australian government

Stephen Mullighan, treasurer of South Australia, said this was a "historic result."

"We now have the best unemployment rate in the entire country and the lowest rate ever recorded in the state's history since monthly records began 46 years ago," Mullighan said in a statement.

"South Australia continues to outperform the nation, with the latest employment figures showing we remain relatively robust."

Call for solutions to skills shortage

Meanwhile, businesses are warning the government to address the country's skill shortage in the wake of lower unemployment rate.

Andrew McKellar, chief executive officer of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, noted that job vacancies remained "almost double their pre-COVID levels," with employers still struggling in finding suitable talent for their vacancies.

"The return to work in February is welcome and highlights the continuing need to address skills shortages and ensure that employers have access to employees with the necessary training and experience to fill vacant positions," McKellar said in a statement.

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