Australia: Unemployment rate to hold flat at 5.5% - Westpac

In the month Australian unemployment rose to 5.5% (5.55% at two decimal places vs. 5.41% in November) with a 0.2ppt gain in participation driving a further 55.16k surge in the labour force, notes the research team at Westpac.

Key Quotes

“This surge in participation has been driven mostly by the incredible jump in females to a new high of 60.6%.”

“Female employment lifted on the back of strong growth in the services sectors. Of the top five sectors for employment in 2017, four have a higher than average share of female employees. And this robust demand for labour has drawn more females into the workforce and/or encouraged others to extend their working life. That is as demand for female labour has risen, so too has supply.”

“We do see a small pullback in participation, from 65.7% to 65.6%, which moderates the January gain in the labour force. Thus the +15k on employment will see the unemployment rate hold flat at 5.5%.”

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