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Australia’s unemployment rate stayed at 3.5 percent in December

Australia’s unemployment rate has held steady at 3.5 percent, contrary to market predictions.

According to recently released figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), the unemployment rate in Australia rose by 6,000 individuals in December 2022, while the number of jobless fell by around 15,000.

On Thursday in a Media release, Lauren Ford, head of labour statistics at the ABS, confirm that the numbers of Australia’s employment economy is prospering after recovering from COVID-19-induced lows.

graph_australiannewstime.com
Seasonally adjusted employment and hours worked indexed to March 2020

After rising by 58,000 people in November and by an average of almost 40,000 people each month from August to November 2022, seasonally adjusted employment fell by 15,000 people (0.1%) in December 2022.

As a result, the proportion of the population that has jobs has fallen to 64.3%. Compared to before the epidemic, it is still increased (by 1.9 percentage points).

After reaching a high point in October, seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked have declined for two months in a row.

Seasonally adjusted employment and hours worked, indexed to March 2020
Hours (March 2020 Index) Employed (March 2020 Index)
Jan-20 100.4 99.9
Feb-20 100.3 100.0
Mar-20 100.0 100.0
Apr-20 90.0 95.5
May-20 90.8 93.3
Jun-20 94.4 95.1
Jul-20 95.5 95.9
Aug-20 95.8 97.1
Sep-20 95.6 96.8
Oct-20 97.7 98.1
Nov-20 99.1 98.7
Dec-20 99.3 99.0
Jan-21 94.6 99.1
Feb-21 100.0 99.8
Mar-21 102.2 100.4
Apr-21 101.0 100.2
May-21 102.5 100.9
Jun-21 101.1 101.1
Jul-21 101.0 101.1
Aug-21 96.9 100.1
Sep-21 97.8 99.1
Oct-21 97.8 98.8
Nov-21 101.9 101.7
Dec-21 103.5 102.4
Jan-22 94.9 102.5
Feb-22 103.3 103.3
Mar-22 102.8 103.6
Apr-22 104.2 103.8
May-22 104.8 104.2
Jun-22 105.1 104.9
Jul-22 104.9 104.7
Aug-22 105.6 105.1
Sep-22 105.4 105.2
Oct-22 107.9 105.5
Nov-22 107.4 106.0
Dec-22 106.8 105.8

Ford said that despite “solid growth through 2022,” with an annual employment growth rate of 3.4% and hours worked growing by 3.2%, “the declines in employment and hours worked in December followed substantial gains.”

“Strong employment growth through 2022 continues to indicate a tight labour market,” as do high participation and low unemployment.

The underemployment rate, which accounts for those who are gainfully employed but might benefit from more hours, increased by 0.2 percentage points to 6.1%.

Ms. Ford said that the tight labour market was reflected in the high participation rates and low unemployment projections that are expected to persist until 2022.

The number of persons forced to work fewer hours than usual owing to sickness persisted at higher than normal levels even while total hours worked increased in 2022.

The number of employees working reduced hours due to sickness rose by 86,000 in December, Ms. Ford said, reaching 606,000. This is more than a 50% increase from the norm for this time of year.

For the December 2022 survey, the cutoff dates were November 27th through December 10th. The dates 1–14 January 2023 will be used as the basis for the January survey.

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