Full-time jobs drive overall employment growth

  • 21 March 2024

The unemployment rate declined in February following a larger than usual number of people in December and January who had a job that they were waiting to start.  The unemployment rate has been around 3 per cent in 20 of the last 21 months, rising to 4.1 per cent in January only because workers took time for holidays at the start of 2024 before starting new jobs in February.

The participation rate picked up in February, suggesting Australia’s workers are keen to work now there is sufficient demand to support adequate employment and that workers need the hours to manage cost of living pressures.

The economy looks able to sustain an unemployment rate of around 3 per cent alongside easing inflation growth, suggesting the official estimates of the unemployment rate that is consistent with inflation being within target are too high at 4.5 per cent.

Full-time employment drove overall employment growth, with around 78,200 more workers employed full-time than in January, an increase of 1.5 per cent compared to February 2023.

There were around 38,300 more workers employed part-time in February compared to a month earlier, an increase of 7.0 per cent over the year.

Hours worked increased by 2.8 per cent in February, up from a decline of 2.0 per cent in January, with the increase in hours worked more than offsetting the declines in hours between November 2023 and January 2024.

The youth unemployment rate declined to 9.1 per cent in February, down from 9.4 per cent a month earlier, with the youth underemployment rate also declining to 15.2 per cent, a reduction from the 15.7 per cent a month earlier.