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Australian labour market – slow employment growth but unemployment continues to fall as population growth remains weak

Today (July 15, 2021), the Australian Bureau of Statistics put out the latest – Labour Force, Australia – for June 2021. The data shows that the trend where even relatively weak employment growth is driving the unemployment rate down because the growth in labour supply, is continuing. Employment increased by 29,100 or 0.2 per cent (which is weak), monthly hours worked decreased by 1.8 per cent, the participation rate was stable, yet unemployment fell by 22,000 (which is excellent), and the unemployment rate fell 0.2 points to 4.9 per cent. But underemployment rose sharply (0.5 points) to 7.9 per cent. So it is a good outcome for unemployment to be falling but the quantity and quality of employment growth is not desirable. The drop in working hours is due to the two-week lockdown in Victoria recently. Next month, the current extended lockdown in Sydney will show up as a negative in the July result. The labour market is still 232.9 thousand jobs of where it would have been if employment had continued to grow according to the average growth rate between 2015 and February 2020.

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