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ABS – Jobs Growth and Female Participation Reaches Record High

The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today show the participation rate for Australia’s females in the workforce rose to a record high of 60.5 per cent in January 2018, while the overall participation rate of 65.6 per cent in January was the highest since 2011.

Program Manager for the ABS Labour and Income Branch Bjorn Jarvis said the trend unemployment rate for January remained steady at 5.5 per cent, where it has hovered for the past seven months.

“Australia’s labour force participation rate continues to strengthen, reaching a new high for females in January and a seven-year high overall,” Mr Jarvis said.

Snapshot – Seasonally Adjusted Estimates for Jan 2018 (Monthly Change)

  • Unemployment rate dropped by 0.1 pts to 5.5%
  • Overall participation rate dropped by 0.1 pts to 65.6%
  • Female participation rate reaches an historic high of 60.5 per cent
  • 16,000 new jobs
  • Composition of net change in available jobs
    • Full time jobs fell by 49,800
    • Part time jobs grew 65,900

The Bureau’s report shows that since January 2017, full time employment has increased by 293,200, while part time employment has increased by 110,100 persons.

The seasonally adjusted employment to population ratio remained steady at 62.0 per cent for a second consecutive month in January 2018, representing an increase of 1.0 percentage point from the same time last year.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by 3.3 per cent, which is above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (1.9 per cent).

“Prior to the past two months, the last time it was 3.3 per cent or higher was back in February 2008, before the Global Financial Crisis” Mr Jarvis said.

On further news the latest Suncorp CCIQ Pulse Survey of Business Conditions report found for the first time in four years, Queensland businesses are feeling optimistic about the future and confident in their operations.

CCIQ’s General Manager Advocacy Kate Whittle said this was a result of several factors.

“Businesses are feeling more confident across the board. They’re telling us that political stability, the Commonwealth Games, elevated commodity prices and the value of the dollar are all contributing to stimulating business activity in the south east and, importantly, in the regions,” Ms Whittle said.

“Since the election, a majority government has been formed, boosting business confidence which is a direct reflection of the certainty provided by a stable government, as businesses are clear on the political policies, and can plan accordingly.

Managing Director, BUSY At Work Paul Miles said it was encouraging to see business confidence build but was concerned about the momentum of part time job growth.

“Each month we have seen a pattern of continual growth in part time jobs rather than full time jobs.

“This creates under-employment, meaning while people may be employed, they are not getting enough hours in their job to get ahead and therefore are simply living week to week and in many cases going backwards.

“This is not sustainable, and I urge all Queensland businesses to consider taking on an apprentice or trainee now.

The government has a big push on jobs offering a range of incentives for businesses including financial.

“Now is a great time to hire an apprentice or trainee which will help grow your business and help youth unemployment Mr Miles said.

Incentives include Back to Work $20,000 Youth Boost payment and now $20,000 Mature Age Payment. The federal government also provides payroll tax rebates and Workers Compensation exemptions.

BUSY has over 40 offices throughout Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

For more information about Back to Work or Skilling Queensland for Work call on 13 28 79 or check out our website


MEDIA CONTACT: Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator
0438 173 960


More information can be found in the January 2018 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0), which is the 500th issue of this publication.

Additional information, including regional labour market information, can be found in the upcoming January 2018 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed – Electronic Delivery (cat. no. 6291.0.55.001), due for release on 22 February 2018.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Queensland (up 19,700 persons) followed by South Australia (up 5,300 persons) and Victoria (up 2,100 persons). The largest decrease was observed in New South Wales (down 21,200 persons), followed by Western Australia (down 8,900 persons).

ABC News
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