Unemployment rate nudges higher despite solid jobs growth

Data for Nov released by the ABS today shows the headline unemployment rate nudged up to 6.3% (from 6.2%) despite stronger than expected jobs growth. The labour market added 42,700 new jobs in Nov, although almost all of these (40,800) were part-time. The rather less volatile Trend series showed the unemployment rate also at 6.3% with employment growth of 7,100. This level of employment growth, which has been fairly stable for the past 3 months, means that Trend employment is growing at just 1.2% pa; below the level needed to maintain (let alone reduce) the unemployment rate when the Trend working population is growing at about 1.8% pa.

For the first time in 5 months QLD recorded positive seasonally adjusted jobs growth (albeit only 900), although full-time employment fell back again after a rise last month. The headline unemployment rate fell to 6.9% (from 7.1%) with the Participation Rate falling back slightly to 65.3. The Trend series, however, paints a picture of continued weakness. Trend employment fell by 5,500 which is the 6th consecutive month of declines. With the Trend working population growing at 1.9%, employment growth is at a standstill (Trend employment is up by just 200 over the year, or 0.01%). The relatively stronger seasonally adjusted data for Nov certainly doesn’t point to any kind of turn-around in QLD just yet.

Next week will see the release of the ABS data for regional labour forces at which point we will be updating our Conus Trend series.

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