Australia

ABS confirms unemployment steady at 3.9 per cent for third month

Australia’s unemployment rate has remained steady as the jobs market continues to grow in the post-pandemic economy.

Fresh data has revealed Australia’s job market has continued to strengthen as the unemployment rate remains at a historic low.

But the treasurer insists the figures are tempered by challenges in inflation and wage growth.

The latest monthly Australian Bureau of Statistics Figures estimate over 60,000 extra people were employed last month, driven entirely by full-time jobs.

The headline unemployment rate remained stable at 3.9 per cent for the third consecutive month.

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate hit a 14-year low, dropping from 6.1 per cent to 5.7 per cent.

It is the seventh consecutive increase in employment following the ease of lockdown restrictions in 2021, the ABS said.

“Average employment growth over the past three months (30,000) continues to be stronger than the pre-pandemic trend of around 20,000 people per month,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

The participation rate – people in work or looking for employment – also hit a record high, up to 66.7 per cent from 66.4 per cent.

“For the first time ever, more than two out of three Australians aged 15 and over were participating in the labour force,” Mr Jarvis said.

In Victoria, the headline rate fell to its lowest level since monthly records began in 1978.

Treasurer Tim Pallas said the 3.7 per cent figure was proof of the work of the Andrews government.

“The state’s economy continues to go from strength to strength as we confidently push forwards, with record low unemployment,” he said.

NSW’s unemployment rate rose slightly, up 0.5 per cent to 4.0 per cent. Treasurer Matt Kean attributed the rise to the “large jump in participation”.

“The unemployment rate in NSW remains low and the number of hours people are working has seen a strong increase as we continue to recover from the impacts of the pandemic,” Mr Kean said.

The federal treasurer Jim Chalmers, who is in isolation after testing positive for Covid, welcomed the figures but expressed concern about other parts of the economy.

“Labour force numbers today which show unemployment was steady in May are welcome news but tempered by significant challenges elsewhere in the economy including high and rising inflation, falling real wages, and global concerns,” he said.

Originally published as Unemployment remains at historic low for third straight month

Place of originABS confirms unemployment steady at 3.9 per cent for third month

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