6202.0 - Labour Force, Australia, Jan 2017 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/02/2017   
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LABOUR FORCE COMMENTARY JANUARY 2017


NATIONAL ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

Australia's trend estimate of employment increased by 11,700 persons in January 2017, with:

  • the number of unemployed persons increasing by 2,800;
  • the unemployment rate remaining steady at 5.7 per cent;
  • the participation rate remaining steady at 64.6 per cent; and
  • the employment to population ratio remaining steady at 60.9 per cent.

Over the past 12 months, trend employment increased by 89,700 (or 0.8 per cent), which is less than half of the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (1.8 per cent). Over the same 12 month period the trend employment to population ratio, which is a measure of how employed the population over 15 years is, decreased by 0.4 percentage points to 60.9 per cent.

In monthly terms, the trend employment increase of 11,700 persons between December 2016 and January 2017 represents an increase of 0.1 per cent, remaining below the monthly average growth rate over the past 20 years of 0.15 per cent.

Trend full-time employment increased by 6,500 persons in January, with part-time employment increasing by 5,100 persons. Since January 2016, full-time employment has fallen by 40,100 persons. In comparison, part-time employment has increased by 129,800 persons, with its share of total employment increasing from 30.8 per cent to 32.0 per cent.

The trend estimate of monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 3.6 million hours in January 2017, to 1,676.0 million hours, with an increase across both full-time (2.9 million hours) and part-time workers (0.7 million hours).

The trend unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.7 per cent in January 2017. Over the past year, the unemployment rate has decreased by 0.1 percentage points, with unemployment decreasing by 6,300 persons.

The trend participation rate remained unchanged at 64.6 per cent in January 2017. Over the past year, the labour force, which includes both employed and unemployed persons, increased by 83,500 persons (0.7 per cent). This was below the rate of increase in the total Civilian Population aged 15 years and over (290,300 persons, or 1.5 per cent), resulting in the participation rate decreasing 0.5 percentage points, down from 65.0 per cent.

The participation rate for 15-64 year olds, which controls (though not entirely) for the effects of an ageing population in the older age groups, also remained unchanged at 76.8 per cent in January. It decreased over the year to January 2017 by a lesser extent than observed for the total population, down 0.3 percentage points (from 77.1 per cent), with the 15-64 year old labour force increasing by 77,100 against the larger increase in the Civilian Population of 170,600.

The trend participation rate for 15-24 year olds, where over half the population attend full-time education, remained unchanged at 66.5 per cent in January 2017, though down 0.7 percentage points over the year.

The trend series smooths the more volatile seasonally adjusted estimates and provide the best measure of the underlying behaviour of the labour market.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 13,500 persons from December 2016 to January 2017. Full-time employment decreased by 44,800 persons, while part-time employment increased by 58,300 persons. Since January 2016, seasonally adjusted full-time employment has decreased by 56,100 persons, while part-time employment has increased by 159,400 persons.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 10.2 million hours in January 2017, to 1,682.7 million hours.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio remained steady at 60.9 per cent in January 2017. Over the past 12 months, the employment to population ratio has decreased by 0.4 percentage points.

Graph 1. Employment to population ratio, Persons, January 2007 to January 2017

Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, January 2007 to January 2017
Graph: Graph 1, Employment to population ratio, Persons, January 2007 to January 2017


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points in January 2017 to 5.7 per cent, and the labour force participation rate also decreased, by 0.1 percentage points, to 64.6 per cent.


STATE AND TERRITORY ESTIMATES

TREND ESTIMATES

In January 2017, increases in trend employment were observed in all states and territories, with the exception of New South Wales. The largest increase was in Victoria (up 3,700 persons), while employment decreased in New South Wales by 2,600.

Since January 2016, the largest increases in employment have been in Victoria (up 101,100 persons), followed by South Australia (up 11,300). Over the same period, the largest decreases in employment were in Queensland (down 28,200) and Western Australia (down 8,900). Employment in New South Wales has remained largely unchanged over the past year (up 200).

The trend unemployment rate decreased in Tasmania in January 2017 (down 0.2 percentage points), and increased in the Northern Territory (up 0.1 percentage points). All other states and the Australian Capital Territory recorded small increases of less than 0.1 percentage points.

The trend participation rate increased in the Northern Territory in January 2017 (up 0.6 percentage points), considerably greater than the next largest increase, which was a 0.1 percentage points increase for both South Australia and Western Australia.


SEASONALLY ADJUSTED ESTIMATES

In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increases in employment were in Western Australia (up 15,100 persons) and Queensland (up 8,500). The largest decreases in employment were in New South Wales (down 13,800) and Victoria (down 9,800).

The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in Tasmania (down 0.7 percentage points) and South Australia (down 0.3 percentage points). The unemployment rate increased in Queensland (up 0.1 percentage points).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was observed in Western Australia (up 0.6 percentage points). The largest decrease was in New South Wales and Victoria (both down 0.5 percentage points).

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the two territories.

Table 1, Unemployment rate, States and Territories

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
December
January
December
January
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.0
5.1
5.2
5.0
Victoria
5.9
5.9
6.0
5.7
Queensland
6.1
6.1
6.2
6.3
South Australia
6.7
6.7
6.8
6.4
Western Australia
6.6
6.6
6.6
6.5
Tasmania
6.1
5.9
6.3
5.6
Northern Territory
3.9
4.0
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
3.7
3.7
np
np
Australia
5.7
5.7
5.8
5.7

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated