Unemployment steady at 5.7 per cent

Employment inches higher.

The May Labour Force figures recorded employment moving +17,900 higher to a total of 11,930,700, with a downward revision to the result for April.


Not a bad result, although all of the new jobs were part time in nature.

Since 2013, well over half of newly created employment has been in part time positions, with a very large +4.4 per cent growth in part time employment in the last twelve months.

There was a decent +1.7 per cent jump in the number of hours worked in May, but the rate of annual employment growth has now slowed to +224,800.



This still represents a solid annual increase in the number of employed persons of +1.92 per cent – well ahead of the rate of population growth – but the trend appears to be slowing, being down from +2.1 per cent last month. 

Total employment in New South Wales jumped by +29,600 to be a massive +141,800 over the year. 

That’s a huge +3.9 per cent annual increase for the Premier State.

The monthly figures often show up anomalies, and this month total employment in South Australia nosedived by -11,500 or -1.4 per cent.

Total full-time employment in South Australia remains little changed from one decade ago.

Indeed, full time employment growth appears to have stalled nationally, now up by just +0.8 per cent over the past year, having flatlined for some months now.

Unemployment steady

The national unemployment rate was steady at 5.7 per cent, with the trend rate of unemployment ticking down to 5.73 per cent, the lowest level in 32 months.


If you were being a stickler, you’d point out that when looking at several decimal places the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was ever-so-slightly higher at 5.739 per cent.


At the state level, the unemployment rate is lowest in New South Wales at 5.2 per cent, with unemployment rates at the state level generally having converged in recent months.


The wrap

Overall, not a lot to see this month, with part time employment dominating jobs growth, and the underutilisation rate still rather high at 14.2 per cent.

Not a big market mover in either direction.

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Pete Wargent


Pete Wargent is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Secretary and has a Financial Planning Diploma. He’s achieved financial freedom at the age of 33 - as detailed in his book ‘Get a Financial Grip – A Simple Plan for Financial Freedom’. Pete now manages his investment portfolio, travels and works as a consultant in the finance industry from time to time. Visit his blog

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