Despite Omicron disruptions in the past few months, Australia’s unemployment figures in February 2022 have dropped to a 13-year low at 4 per cent.
According to recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, employment increased by 77,000 new jobs last month.
“This is the lowest unemployment rate since August 2008 and only the third time in the history of the monthly survey when unemployment was as low as 4.0 per cent (February 2008, August 2008, February 2022),” said Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS.
The underutilisation rate, which combines the employment and underemployment rates, also dropped to the lowest level since 2008. It stands at 10. 6 per cent.
ABS figures show that full-time employment in Australia increased by 121,900 while part-time employment shrank by 44,500 in February.
It seems more people were looking for work, as Mr. Javis noted the participation rate rose to 66.4 per cent, an all-time high in the country.
“Participation rose to a new record high in February and was around 0.6 percentage points higher than the start of the pandemic,” he said.
Still, when it came down to the number of hours worked, the impact of the Omicron wave could be noticed. In February, there continued to be a higher-than-usual number of people working reduced or no hours due to illness or sick leave.
“The number of employed people working no hours over the entire week due to illness or sick leave was around 80 per cent higher than what we would usually see in February, having been around triple the usual level in January,” Mr. Jarvis explained.
On a national level, South Australia reported the highest unemployment rate at 5 per cent, followed by Queensland (4.3 per cent). The Australia Capital Territory reported the lowest rate at 3 per cent, followed by the Northern Territory (3.5 per cent).
The Federal Government has welcomed the figures as a positive sign of their economic plan.
“There are more people in work today, and we’ve had a greater employment growth in this country than any other G7 country, the most advanced economies of the world,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison noted.
“And that is a testimony to the way we have worked together as a team around the national cabinet table to save lives and strengthen our economy.”
Notably, the ABS survey period ran from 30 January to 12 February 2022, weeks before Australia opened its international borders to all visa-holders. It remains to be seen how these figures may impact interest rates moving forward.
This post was aggregated from Dynamic Business (https://dynamicbusiness.com).