Unemployment rates drop on lower Participation rather than more jobs

This morning saw the ABS release the labour market data for Feb. Against market expectations the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell sharply to 5.8% (from 6.0%) despite there only being an additional 300 jobs in the month; the reason being a dip in the Participation Rate from 65.1 to 64.9. The more stable Trend Unemployment rate remained at 5.8%

While only 300 jobs may have been added there was a strong pick-up in Full-time positions (up 15,900) although this was nowhere near enough to compensate for the decline of 40,300 Full-time positions in Jan.

In Queensland an even sharper fall in Participation (to 65.4 from 66.3) saw the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate crash to 5.6% (from 6.4% in Jan)in spite of a drop of 5,800 total jobs. Full-time positions were up 16,600 in Feb having been virtually static in Jan.

The Trend in Queensland showed 3,900 new jobs (the slowest rate of growth since May) and the unemployment rate stable at 5.9% (after Jan was revised down from 6.1%).

Regional jobs data will be released next Thursday at which time we will update the Conus Trend series for all Queensland regions.

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