Thursday, 11 October 2007

Aust unemployment rate hits 33 year low

Today's release from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows a continuing tight labour market.

Total employment increased by 13,000 to 10,527,500 for the month of September. Full-time employment decreased by 17,200 to 7,522,200 and part-time employment increased by 30,100 to 3,005,300.

The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.2%. The participation rate decreased by 0.1 percentage point to 65.0%.

Whilst full-time employment decreased in September a net 139,400 full-time jobs have been created so far this calendar year (191, 000 full-time jobs were created in the first 9 months of 2006). The year over year growth in employment remains healthy at 2.5%, off slightly from the peak of 3.1% in January this year.

All in all the report shows a robust Australian employment market. Like US employment numbers the Australian numbers are subject to large revisions. A negative month in full-time employment growth is largely meaningless.

A number of consecutive months of negative growth would have to be realized to raise concerns. The last time 3 months or more of consecutive declines in full-time employment occurred was between May 2001 - August 2001 when a total of 89,000 full-time jobs were shed.