The ABS Labour Force data for August has shown an unexpected jump in the number employed (up 111,000 versus expectations of a 40,000 fall, and a 4,500 upward revision to the July data) and a fall in the unemployment rate to 6.8% (from 7.5%). Participation was slightly higher and the hours worked per capita figure also increased slightly. Employment is now down 2.54% for the year.
In Queensland we also saw a solid increase with employment up 18,000 (after July was revised to a 1,700 increase from a previously estimated fall of 3,700) which saw the unemployment rate drop to 7.5% (from 8.8%). In the Sunshine State participation fell (although July’s original estimate was revised higher) but the hours worked per capita still managed a solid improvement. Employment is now down 3.35% from a year earlier.
Although nationally almost 33% of the gains in employment were in full-time positions, in QLD full-time jobs made up just 1% of the employment gains.
Today’s numbers cast some doubt on the RBA’s expectations of the unemployment rate getting as high as 10% by year-end. As regular readers will know, our own modelling has been suggesting a much lower unemployment rate. After incorporating this latest data into our model we are now expecting the national unemployment rate to reach somewhere between 7.2%-7.7% by year-end. In Queensland we expect to see the unemployment rate between 7.8%-8.4% by December.