Here’s what’s happening to (un)employment

Let’s have a butcher’s hook at the recent all-important Labour Force data in 3 parts.

Part 1 – Employment surges (+244k y/y)

Well! A big result which smoked expectations with another 38,500 jobs added in July, sending total employment to a new high of 11,810,700.

Great to see.

total employed


Zooming in the chart we can see that the economy has added an impressive 243,600 jobs over the past year, the best result since March 2011.

This represented a crunching rate of employment growth of 2.1 per cent – also the best result since 2011 – which has far outstripped the rate of population growth at just 1.4 per cent.

total employed 5

In July the total employment growth of 38,500 was driven by full time employment increasing by 12,400 and part time employment rising by 26,100.

cumulative jobs

Part 2 – State versus state

There have variously been jobs created in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Perth over recent times.

But the really great driver of job gains over the past year has been Sydney, followed by Melbourne.

The state level jobs data tells the story – Sydney’s labour market is on fire.

total employed state

Over the past year New South Wales (+118,000) and Victoria (+76,000) have accounted for 80 per cent of Australia’s total employment growth.

cumulative total e

3 – Unemployment

Despite the very strong jobs growth a big jump in the participation rate to 65.1 per cent also saw the unemployment rate rise in June, the seasonally adjusted result spiking to 6.3 per cent.

unemployment rate

There are now more than 800,000 unemployed persons in Australia, and as I’ll highlight next week from the Detailed Labour Force figures, regional unemployment in particular remains far too high for comfort.

I’ve finally given up completely on trying to make any sense of the utterly illogical seasonally adjusted unemployment rate figures at the state level, and henceforth will focus only on the trend.

The unemployment rate in Queensland has trended down from 6.7 per cent in September 2014 to 6.3 per cent, which has been heartening to see.

However, Western Australia is heading in the other direction with the unemployment rate having trended up to 6 per cent from a position of near full employment only a few years ago as the mining investment boom unravels.

As for South Australia…yikes.

unemployment rates by state

The wrap

A few mixed messages from today’s release, but overall this data just underscored what a golden period this has been for Sydney’s economy, with an infrastructure and dwelling deficit being neatly converted into a building and employment boom.

I’ll take a more detailed look at what’s happening at the regional level next week.




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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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