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October unemployment rate drops to 3.4%

While flood events impacted the amount of hours worked in October, the historically low unemployment rate continues, according to data released yesterday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said: “With employment increasing by around 32,000 people, and the number of unemployed decreasing by 21,000 people, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 per cent.”

For men, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell 0.3 percentage points to 3.2 per cent, the lowest rate since November 1974. For women, it remained steady at 3.6 per cent.

“The number of people who worked fewer hours because they were on annual leave increased between September and October, consistent with school holidays and public holidays. However, the number of people on annual leave in October 2022 was around 10 per cent less than we typically see at this time of the year,” Mr Jarvis further stated.

Approximately 30% more people also worked reduced hours due to sickness in October (concurrent with the recent surge in new Covid cases) and, according to the ABS, this difference may have been due to people who would normally have taken annual leave at this time of year taking sick leave instead.

Encouragingly though, Mr Jarvis said of this, “While the number of people working fewer hours due to sickness was around a third higher than we’d usually see in October, it was no longer two-to-three times higher, as it was earlier in 2022. October was the first month in 2022 where the number of people was less than half a million (467,000).”

Paul Miles, Managing Director of The BUSY Group stated: “While we are seemingly in a current job seekers market, the impacts of the past few years has exacerbated a growing skills shortage across Australia. For those seeking a secure and promising career pathway, there are government incentives to undertake skills that are identified on the Australian Apprentices in Priority List. We encourage businesses in these industries to seek further information from BUSY At Work regarding wage incentives when employing apprentices or trainees.”

For more information on apprenticeships, recruitment and career support programs provided by BUSY At Work, visit

Source:  Australian Bureau of Statistics

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