Part Time Employment rises to New Record

The number of Australians in part time employment rose to a new record of 3.645 million persons in September 2015, up 0.2% on the prior month. At the same time, full time employment fell approximately 14,000 persons to 8.124 million, which resulted in a drop on the participation rate to 64.9%.

Having slowly risen from the lows of 2013 and 2014, the participation rate reached 65.1% in July 2015, but has gradually begun to slide back, as the chart, showing seasonally adjusted data, below shows.

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To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

As might be expected in a month when the number of people in employment rose very slightly and the proportion of people looking for work declined, the unemployment rate moved sideways at 6.2%, having declined the prior month from 6.4%.

As the chart below shows, the unemployment rate increased on a seasonally adjusted basis from the latter part of 2012 until July 2014, when it reached 6.3%. Since then, despite moving up and down on a short-term basis, the unemployment rate has been stubborn, stuck between a low of 6.0% (May 2015) and its high of 6.4% (July 2015).

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To go straight to the dashboard and take a closer look at the data, click here.

The sum of the latest data appears to be that Australia’s unemployment rate is only being alleviated by rises in part time employment and declining participation rates. For the individuals concerned that is of course serious. However it is also a challenge for the Australian economy, which appears to be operating at sub-optimal levels, failing to maximize the productivity opportunities of full labour participation.