The media concentrated on the rise in seasonally adjusted unemployment in April, but the real story was in the trend data where the growth in the labour market is back to levels last seen in August 2018.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics said that 311,000 new jobs were created in the year to April on a trend basis – that’s a growth rate of 2.5%, which was last seen last August. That was also well ahead of the 1.7% rise in the size of the labour market this year and well ahead of the 2% rise in the size of the jobs market overall.
That is faster than forecast and was mostly ignored by the media on Thursday and Friday.
That’s why the Reserve Bank will remain on hold – there is nothing in the report to force it to pull the interest rate lever. The Aussie dollar dipped and fell as the headless chooks flapped away and pushed the currency down yesterday.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate rose to 5.2% in April from a revised 5.1% in March.
The participation rate increased to 65.8 percent and the number of people employed increased by 28,000 although that figure was driven by an increase in part-time employment while full-time employment fell.
On a trend basis, the unemployment rate remained steady in April 2019 at 5.1%, from a revised March 2019 figure, according to the ABS.
Trend monthly employment increased by around 21,000 in April. Full-time employment increased by 15,000 persons and part-time employment increased by 6,000 persons (the reserve of what the seasonally adjusted figure showed)
“The rise in employment over the past year was supported by an increase of around 260,000 full-time and 50,000 part-time employed persons,” ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said in yesterday’s statement
The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.3% in April 2019 and by 2.8% over the past year. This was above the 20-year average year-on-year growth of 1.7%.
The trend monthly underemployment rate remained steady at 8.3% in April 2019 and dropped by 0.2 percentage points over the year.
The monthly trend underutilisation rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 13.4 percent and decreased by 0.6 percentage points over the year.
The ABS said that trend unemployment rate remained steady in New South Wales, South Australia, and Western Australia fell by 0.1 percentage points in the Northern Territory and by less than 0.1 percentage points in Queensland. It increased by 0.2 percentage points in the Australian Capital Territory, by 0.1 percentage points in Tasmania and by less than 0.1 percentage points in Victoria.
Over the year, the unemployment rate fell in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, and Western Australia, and increased in South Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory, and the Australian Capital Territory.