The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.7 per cent in October, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed.

From September to October, employment increased by 55,000 people while the number of unemployed people increased by 28,000.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the unemployment rate has reverted to its position in July and August.

“The large increase in employment in October followed a small increase in September of around 8,000 people,” Jarvis said. “Looking over the past two months, these increases equate to average employment growth of around 31,000 people a month, which is slightly lower than the average growth of 35,000 people a month since October 2022."

Compared to October 2022, 418,900 people shifted into employment, growing by 3 per cent year-on-year. Unemployment changed 64,000 year-on-year, at a rate of 13.2 per cent.

The employment-to-population ratio increased by 0.1 percentage point to 64.5 per cent. The participation rate also increased by 0.2 percentage points to 67.0 per cent.

Meanwhile, monthly hours worked increased 0.5 per cent in October 2023, similar to the employment growth of 0.4 per cent.

However, ABS data showed the annual growth rate in hours worked had reduced to 1.7 per cent, down from around 5 per cent in the middle of the year, and less than the annual employment growth of 3.0 per cent.

"Compared with the labour market just before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the growth in hours worked was still greater than employment, at 10.0 per cent and 9.2 per cent,” Jarvis said. “However, the gap between them had recently narrowed, having been much higher for most of the period from October 2022 to August 2023.

"The recent slowdown in the growth of hours worked may suggest that the labour market is starting to slow, following a particularly strong period of growth," Jarvis said.

The underemployment rate remained at 6.3 per cent in October, in line with the updated figure for September, according to the ABS. While this was 0.4 percentage points higher than October 2022, this was still around 2.4 percentage points lower than before the pandemic.

The underutilisation rate, which combines the unemployment and underemployment rates, rose 0.1 percentage point to 10.0 per cent. This was 0.7 percentage points higher than last October, but 3.9 percentage points lower than March 2020.

ABS data also showed that the trend unemployment rate remained at 3.7 per cent in October.

In trend terms, employment grew by around 28,000 people (0.2 per cent) and hours worked fell 0.1 per cent in October. Over the past year, employment has increased by 2.8 per cent and hours worked by 2.6 per cent.

“In trend terms, growth in hours worked has also been slowing down recently, and has now fallen for the past four months,” Jarvis said. “This suggests a softening in labour demand, compared with the strong growth in hours during 2022-23.

"This slowing in hours is also reflected in the compositional change in employment growth, with part-time employment rising faster since the middle of 2023.

“In contrast, full-time employment had been increasing steadily through to mid-2023, but has seen very little growth since.”

The employment-to-population ratio remained at 64.4 per cent, having been around 64.4 per cent or 64.5 per cent for the past 16 months.

The participation rate dropped from 66.9 per cent to 66.8 per cent, and remained around the levels of the past nine months.

"The relatively high level of the employment-to-population ratio and participation rate shows the ongoing resilience in the labour market, with growth in employment broadly in line with population growth," Jarvis said.

The underemployment rate remained at 6.4 per cent for the fifth straight month.

comments powered by Disqus