Unemployment drops but not for full-timers

Unemployment in Australia has fallen to its lowest level since the Gillard government was in power.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the unemployment rate fell to 4.9 per cent in adjusted terms – the lowest level since June 2011.

The statistics could see the Reserve Bank of Australia put a hold on further interest rate cuts having previously stated increasing unemployment could be a driver for further cuts.

The lower figures came despite total employment rising by only 4,600, far below expectations of 15,000.

Full-time employment, which saw a decrease of 7,300 people, was offset by an increase of 11,900 people in part-time employment.

WA saw the biggest fall in unemployment dropping from a 17-year high of 6.8 per cent last month to 5.9 per cent however this was helped by a 0.6 point drop in the participation rate.

Despite these seemingly good figures, underlying problems remain in the WA jobs market.

Underemployment remains high at 8.7 per cent suggesting wage growth is still sluggish and after seasonal adjustment the unemployment rate remains steady at 6.2 percent.

Despite this WA treasurer Ben Wyatt said he was optimistic about the result.

“The most pleasing part of this month’s figures is that we have 4,000 fewer West Australians unemployed than when we first took office,” he said.

““I am encouraged by today’s jobs figures but we are not taking anything for granted, job creation continues to be this Government’s number one priority.”

Commsec economist Ryan Felsman said the headline figure hides “under the bonnet” issues.

“The concern for Aussie policy makers is that jobs growth and hiring appears to have peaked in 2018, job growth indicators show skilled vacancies have eased.”

Shadow Treasurer Dean Nalder said whilst there were some positive signs there are some serious concerns.

“The reduction in full-time employment and therefore the level of underemployed is of concern,” he said.

“The government has hung its hats on participation rates and those have fallen so using their vernacular this means people have lost confidence and are dropping out of the market.”

Categories: Business, Economy, General