Trend unemployment rate at six year low: ABS

Trend unemployment rate at six year low: ABS
Trend unemployment rate at six year low: ABS

The latest ABS unemployment figures show the trend unemployment rate is at a six year low.

The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2 per cent in the month of September 2018 after the August figure was revised down.

"Today's figures continue to show a gradual decrease in the trend unemployment rate that began in late 2014," ABS chief economist Bruce Hockman said.

"The trend unemployment rate of 5.2 per cent is the lowest it has been since mid 2012."

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Trend unemployment rate at six year low: ABS

Over the year, trend employment increased by over 290,000 persons or 2.4 per cent, which was above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (2.0 per cent).  

Unemployment is down to 4.4% in New South Wales, 4.5% in Victoria and to 6% in Western Australia.

Ahead of the unemployment figures the employment segment of the NAB Quarterly Business Survey rose 2.4 points in September.

The jump, from +9.5 points in August to 11.9 point in September, brings the total points to the third highest level in 12 and a half years.

The 12 month moving average of +10 points is a record high.

NAB group chief economist Alan Oster said business conditions have stabilised after a mid-year pullback. 

 “Business conditions have pulled back through the middle of 2018 after reaching very high levels earlier in the year. However, the latest monthly survey suggests that conditions have stabilised at a still high level," Oster said.

"This suggests that momentum in the business sector has not weakened further. Overall, trading conditions, profitability and employment conditions remain quite favourable.”

Oster noted that despite conditions easing across most industries, generally most industries continue to report above average conditions.

"Retail however, remains weak, as it has been for some time," Oster noted.

Roy Morgan's latest data found 246,000 more Australians employed than last year, with unemployment down to 9.4 percent in September off a two-year high.

"Australian employment has grown solidly over the past year with nearly 200,000 jobs created split evenly between full-time and part-time employment," the market research firm advised.

There were a total of 12,164,000 Australians employed in September, up 192,000 over the last year.

The September increase however was split evenly across full time jobs (97,000 created) and part-time jobs (95,000 created).

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said as a consequence, part-time employment in Australia has hit a new record high of nearly 4.5 million in September.

“In addition to the new jobs created a further 54,000 Australians entering the workforce were unable to find a job and became unemployed," Levine said.

"Now 1.3 million Australians are unemployed in September equivalent to 9.4% of the workforce and up 0.3% on a year ago," Levine said.

Compared to three years ago, there are now 4.1% less Australians in full-time work (63.3%), while part-time employment is up 4.1% (36.7%).

“As we’ve noted previously the persistent high level of unemployment and under-employment in Australia isn’t because jobs aren’t being created, it’s because the workforce continues to grow at a faster rate than the growth in employment," Levine suggested.

"Not only is the expanding Australian workforce not providing enough jobs to reduce unemployment but the long-term trend of an increasing casualisation of the Australian workforce is continuing.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence rating fell by 0.7 percent to 117.3 in the past week.

The index is comfortably above the average of 114.2 held since 2014, and above the longer term average of 113 held since 1990.

CommSec's Ryan Felsman said the hiring spree in Australia continues.

"Labour market conditions are positive, employment growth is solid, the unemployment rate is at six-year lows, job vacancies are elevated and the participation rate has been hovering near record high levels," he said.

"And while home prices have moderated in Greater Sydney and Melbourne, the unemployment rates in both cities are at near ten-year (4.4 per cent) and six-year (5.5 per cent) lows in August."

Felsman said further job gains are anticipated, with the Aussie domestic economic backdrop supportive.

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson

Joel Robinson is a property journalist based in Sydney. Joel has been writing about the residential real estate market for the last five years, specializing in market trends and the economics and finance behind buying and selling real estate.

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