Strong labour force data; QLD unemployment dips below 6%

Today’s ABS Labour Force data for Dec was an almost universally positive set of numbers. Looking at the Trend series we saw the unemployment rate across Australia dip to 5.14% (its lowest rate since April) as 17,500 were added to the number employed (8,900 of them in full-time positions).

While the Trend rate of employment growth slowed to 2.05% (its slowest pace since May 2017) we saw a continued uptick in our favourite measure; hours worked per capita of the working age population. This moved to a 7-year high of 86.26 hours. The reason we like this measure so much is that it ‘sees through’ issues around changes in participation and the mix between full and part-time employment.

There was also some good news for Queensland with the Trend unemployment rate edging just below 6% (5.96%) for the first time since Nov 2017. A total of 4,100 were added to employment with 1,700 of those being full-time. With the rate of employment growth edging slightly higher to 2.31% (our best result since June 2018) and the hours worked per capita also edging higher (to 86.85 hrs).

Next week we will see the ABS original regional labour force data which will allow us to update our Conus/CBC Staff Selection Regional Employment Trend series.


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