Generally disappointing jobs result, although employment still up

The results from the Feb Labour Force Survey released today are somewhat weaker than expected, although employment continues to grow. The headline (seasonally adjusted) data shows an extra 17,500 people employed in Feb with a very healthy increase in full-time employment of 65,000. With the participation rate edging slightly higher the net result was an unemployment rate that moved up a tick to 5.6% (although the Trend rate remained unchanged at 5.5%).

Over the course of the past 12 months, Trend employment growth is running at 3.3% (down from 3.4% in previous months).

Our preferred measure of Trend hours worked:working population (which “sees through” issues of participation and the full-time/part-time split) saw a decline from 86.19 in Jan to 86.04 … see second chart below.

The result in Queensland was also less than stellar. Seasonally adjusted employment fell by 1,000 (although only after Jan’s increase was revised up and Trend employment showed a 4,200 increase). Nevertheless, full-time employment saw another healthy increase up 16,600. The headline seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged higher to 6.2%. In Trend terms, Queensland sits in second worst place nationally just behind South Australia (6.2%) on 6.1%. Trend employment growth remains at a very healthy rate of 4.7%, although as the chart below makes clear the pace has slowed in recent months.

As is the case at a national level, the hours worked:working population measure shows a decline from 88.30 in Jan to 88.16 in Feb.

Next Thursday will see the release of the original regional employment data as well as the quarterly industry jobs data from the ABS. We will be releasing our Conus Trend Jobs and Conus Trend Industry Jobs data series at that time.

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