The ABS data for February shows the headline (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate jumped to 5.9% (from 5.7%) as the economy lost 6,400 jobs (market had been expecting +16,300). However, it’s not all bad news as the losses all came from part time jobs with full time positions actually increasing by 27,100 (after significant declines in Jan). Over the course of the year the economy has gained 104,600 jobs (at an average of 8,700 per month) although full time positions are 23,200 lower ( a loss of 1,900 on average each month).
The less volatile Trend series shows a total of 11,600 new jobs with Jan revised slightly higher. The Trend unemployment rate sits at 5,8% after Jan was revised up to 5.8% (from 5.7%).
In Queensland things were weaker still. The headline data showed a loss of 11,500 jobs with full time positions up 5,100 (after more than 30,000 were lost in Jan). The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has jumped to 6.7% (from 6.3%); this puts Queensland in the unenviable position of having the highest rate of unemployment (seasonally adjusted) in the nation. Over the last 12 months the state has lost 38,500 (or 3,200 per month) with full time jobs down 66,100 (an average loss of 5,500 per month).
The Trend series shows 1,600 jobs added (the fourth month of increases) although Trend jobs have fallen by 24,200 (2,000 per month) over the course of the year.
With the Participation Rates at both a national and state level having fallen slightly there is really no way of looking at this data as anything other than disappointing.