Unemployment drops to 2011 levels
Unemployment dipped down to 5 per cent in December despite soft economic conditions.
Around 21,600 new jobs were created – mostly part-time positions – while 3,000 full-time jobs were shed over the month.
There was a small slip in the proportion of people looking for work, but participation rates are high by historical standards.
Australia is currently experiencing the equal lowest level of unemployment since June 2011, seasonally adjusted.
“Over the past year, trend employment increased by 284,100 persons [2.3 per cent], which was above the average annual growth over the past 20 years [2 per cent],” the Australian Bureau of Statistics notes.
Underemployment and underutilisation - measurements of spare capacity in the jobs market - also edged down.
Economist Dr Alex Joiner from IFM Investors say it is probably not enough to increase wage growth.
“Labour market continued to track well to end 2018, but the spare capacity issue is unresolved and it remains difficult to envisage materially stronger wage growth in this environment — combined with other factors this will likely see further tepid inflation data next week,” Dr Joiner noted.
Queensland put on almost 12,000 workers, while Victoria reported strong jobs growth too.
Figures stayed fairly flat in other states except Western Australia. WA saw 15,300 jobs shed, leaving it with unemployment at 6.3 per cent.
Victoria has Australia’s lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 4.2 per cent, while New South Wales is steady at 4.3 per cent.