Australia’s unemployment rate stays at 3.4%

Record-high participation rate indicates tight labour market, says ABS

Australia’s unemployment rate stays at 3.4%

Australia's unemployment rate remained steady at 3.4% in November 2022, while participation rate hit a record-high of 66.8%, according to latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The record-high participation rate is a return to figures previously reported in June 2022. It is also one percentage point higher than before the pandemic, said Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS.

The participation rate for women also returned to a record-high 62.4%, while men recorded 71.3%.

"The record high participation rate continues to show that it is a tight labour market, especially when coupled with very low unemployment," Jarvis said.

Unemployment, employment rate

Australia's unemployment rate remained at 3.4%, according to the ABS data, while the country added up to 64,000 jobs for the month of November.

"The employment growth in November is consistent with other labour market indicators showing continuing growth through 2022, such as payroll jobs data. Along with the continued strength in employment, hours worked are also well above pre-pandemic levels," said Jarvis.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked decreased by 0.4% in November, according to the ABS, while the number of people working reduced hours due to illness around "a third higher" than usual.

"In November, we saw the number of people working reduced hours due to illness increasing by 50,000, back over half a million people (520,000), which is still around a third higher than we usually see at this time of the year," Jarvis said.

Underemployment, underutilisation

The country's unemployment and underemployment rates are now "around two-thirds of what they were," according to Jarvis.

For the country's underemployment rate, the figures dipped to 5.8%, 2.9 percentage points below the pre-pandemic rate.

The underutilisation rate, which combines unemployment and underemployment rates, declined to 9.3%, the lowest rate reported since February 1982.

"The low underutilisation rate of 9.3 per cent in November 2022 reflects the fact that there are now around 221,000 fewer unemployed people and 370,000 fewer underemployed people than in March 2020," Jarvis said.

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