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February Unemployment back down to 3.5 per cent

A boss showin his apprentice the ropes
A boss showin his apprentice the ropes

After January’s unusual number of people waiting to start or returning to their work in February, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 per cent in February, according to data released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Head of labour statistics at ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said: “With employment increasing by around 65,000 people, and the number of unemployed decreasing by 17,000 people, the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 per cent. This was back to the level we saw in December.

“The February increase in employment follows consecutive falls in December and January. In January, this reflected a larger than usual number of people waiting to start a new job, the majority of whom returned to or commenced their jobs in February.

“This was particularly evident in the South-East of Australia, with larger than seasonal numbers of people entering into employment across New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT.”

A higher than usual number of Australians started employment in February which affected the January unemployment rate. The number of people indicating they were waiting to start a new job has now returned close to normal levels.

“Following the 2.1 per cent fall in January, when more Australians than usual took annual leave, the hours worked in February bounced back strongly to a level similar to late 2022, and were 5.1 per cent higher than February 2022.

“In February, there were also no major disruptions that affected peoples’ ability to work their normal hours, such as the widespread sickness or natural disasters that we have seen over recent years,” Mr Jarvis said.

Paul Miles, Managing Director of The BUSY Group stated: “While the latest results indicate Australia’s jobs market is returning to ‘normal’, with recent interest rate hikes and inflationary costs, many businesses are under increased financial pressure.

“The Australian Government has many initiatives to support businesses and make hiring new staff more affordable. These include incentives for hiring apprentices and trainees, as well as wage subsidy support for employing eligible job seekers through Workforce Australia Employment Services programs. The BUSY Group can assist businesses to employ staff for their business and our team can provide the latest advice on eligible wage subsidies and other incentives.”

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Source:  Australian Bureau of Statistics

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