Home » Australia: Mixed news from the labour front

Australia: Mixed news from the labour front

Employment growth of 38,500 was stronger than the consensus expectation for 23,700 job gains in April. But the good news ends there. Full-time jobs with their higher wages and other benefits fell by 6,100 and there was a small downward revision to the previous month’s gains. Part-time employment growth made up all of the increase in the headline figure. 

There was also a bigger-than-usual increase in the number of unemployed. Total unemployment rose by just over thirty-thousand in April. This was less than the increase in the labour force but was enough to push up the unemployment rate from an upward revised 3.9% to 4.1%, helped higher also by some convenient rounding (4.054% to 3dp). Labour participation rose to 66.7% from 66.6%, which equates to a 68,800 increase in those employed or looking for work. This is about double the 6-month average and points to a still fast-growing pool of available labour in search of a dwindling supply of quality jobs. It is early days yet, and this data is very choppy so reading anything much into a single month’s data is extremely risky.

As a case in point, when looking at 6-month moving averages (see chart below), today’s data really hasn’t moved the needle regarding employment growth or the change in the number of unemployed.