What’s really going on with (un)employment.
While the media focus has long since moved on from the Labour Force figures – I looked at them in some detail yesterday here – given that some of the figures are only provided quarterly, it’s worth having a bit more of a drill-down to see which of the states and territories are faring best, and which are not.
Most states are showing a recent improvement on this metric, including New South Wales (NSW), Queensland (QLD) and Tasmania (TAS), but Western Australia (WA) is the midst of its decline in resources investment, and so WA is accordingly struggling on this measure.
As you can see underemployment is higher today that it was through most of the mining and resources construction boom phase, but not wildly so in the case of NSW and QLD.
Monthly hours worked
Finally, I saw on last night’s news the usual reporting that the national unemployment rate fell to 5.8 per cent because people “gave up looking for work”.
Dr. Chris Caton of BT Financial explains why this is an erroneous conclusion:
“Bear in mind that monthly movements in the participation rate are simply an arithmetic reflection of movements in the estimates of employment and unemployment. The monthly movement in participation is otherwise devoid of informational content. Bin all analysis that suggests that the unemployment rate only fell because participation dropped.“
Australia’s reported participation rate had been in an uptrend since October 2014, but struck upon a blip in February.While WA remains the participation rate king, WA and TAS are trending down, while NSW and QLD once again scored well.
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