Unemployment rate dips to 5% as part-time jobs grow

A net 21,600 new jobs opened last month driven largely by part-time opportunities

Unemployment rate dips to 5% as part-time jobs grow

Australia’s labour market remains robust as the unemployment rate dipped to a seasonally adjusted five per cent in December despite indications of an economic slowdown.

A net 21,600 new jobs were generated last month, slightly above expectations of 16,500 new openings, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The increase in employment in December was buoyed primarily by part-time opportunities. In contrast, full-time positions which typically offer higher pay and greater security fell by 3,000.

The participation rate – which was at 65.6% last month – helped rein in unemployment numbers. In addition, underemployment fell to 8.4%, indicating spare capacity in the labour market.

Victoria registered the lowest jobless rate at 4.2%, followed by New South Wales at 4.3%. Western Australia, on the other hand, recorded the highest unemployment rate at 6.3%.

Australia’s trend unemployment rate had been falling steadily in 2018, shedding 0.5 percentage points throughout the year, said Bruce Hockman, chief economist at ABS.

“Over the past year, trend employment increased by 284,100 persons [2.3%], which was above the average annual growth over the past 20 years [2%],” the ABS reported.

The country’s annual job growth of 2.2% seen in the past couple of years continued to outpace its population growth rate of 1.6%.


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