Australia full time employment growth continues

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According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), monthly trend full-time employment increased for the eighth straight month in May 2017, with 19,300 more persons working full time last month, while part-time employment increased by 5,900 persons, underpinning an increase in total employment of 25,200 persons.

“Full-time employment has increased by around 124,000 persons since September 2016, with particular strength over the past five months, at around 20,000 persons per month,” said Chief Economist for the ABS, Bruce Hockman.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 194,200 persons (1.6%), below the average year-on-year (YoY) growth over the past 20 years (1.8%). It has increased since December 2016, when the YoY growth was at 0.8% and reflected relatively low employment growth through most of 2016.

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 2.9 million hours (0.2%) to 1,677.7 million hours in May 2017. Most of this increase was hours worked by full-time workers.

The trend unemployment rate in Australia remained at 5.7% in May 2017. The trend underemployment rate, which is a quarterly measure of employed persons wanting more hours, increased from 8.7% to 8.8% between February and May 2017.

“The underemployment rate is an important indicator of the spare capacity of workers in Australia, and has risen for the sixth consecutive quarter to a historical high of 8.8%,” Hockman said. “The underutilisation rate, which includes both unemployment and underemployment, remained at 14.5% in May 2017.

“The unemployment rate has been relatively stable over the past 18 months, at around 5.7 to 5.8%, while the seasonally adjusted rate has also been relatively constrained, between 5.5 and 6.0%.”

Trend series smooth the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.