Australia: Robust employment but rising unemployment - Westpac

Justin Smirk, analyst at Westpac, suggests that the Australian April Labour Force had a bit for everyone with robust employment but rising unemployment & underemployment.

Key Quotes

“The April Labour Force Survey reported a 28.4k gain in employment. So far this year the trend in employment remains robust with a three month average gain of 22.4k from 24.9k in March and 22.0k in February. However, the trend has moderated from the three month average gain of 31.8k in January.”

“Overall, it was mixed update on the Labour Force Survey. Despite robust employment unemployment is rising due to surge in participation. So while the business surveys suggest winter is coming for the Australian labour market we remain in the southern hemisphere autumn and employment is still expanding.”

“In April unemployment bumped up to 5.2% (5.20% at two decimal places) from 5.1% as a 0.2ppt gain in participation to 65.8% saw the labour force add 49.6k.”

“Underemployment did not improved as much as unemployment did through 2018 and now it is trending higher with underemployment averaging 8.3% through the last six months.”

“Employment has held it together so far in 2019 even if it is on a softening trend. Unemployment and underemployment are drifting higher but the employment to population ratio has held around 62.4% since the end of 2019 highlighting that the rise in unemployment is more about rising participation than weak employment.”

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