May 21, 2018

Blokes lead the way as WA jobless rate tumbles

18 May 2018, 01:15 | Joan Schultz

Jobless rate ticks up to 5.6 per cent

Employment conditions at record high

Australian government bonds edged slightly lower on Thursday after employment index for the month of April hits the highest level since the polling began in March 1997, pushing the benchmark 10-year bond yield to a 3-month high.

There were 22,600 more people with jobs in April, more than the 20,000 expected by economists, with the growth all coming in full-time positions, seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show.

The rise in unemployment was driven up by more people looking for work, with the participation rate in the workforce rising to a record 65.6 per cent. Full-time employment increased 32,700 to 8,543,400 and part-time employment decreased 10,000 to 3,957,700.

The Australian dollar has been boosted by the data, trading at 75.27 USA cents at 1200 AEST, up from 75.18 United States cents just prior to the release.

Participation rate increased by less than 0.1 pts to 65.7%.

So what gives? Isn't booming employment growth supposed to lead to lower unemployment?

Job seekers have little bargaining power and to some extent soft wage growth may have become ingrained in their expectations.

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High spare capacity in Australia's labour market is one reason for the subdued wage outcome.

The fall was driven by men with their unemployment rate falling to 6.6 per cent from 7.2 per cent.

"This will keep a lid on wages growth and price inflation, and will keep the RBA on the sidelines until at least the December quarter 2019".

Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 4.7 million hours (0.27%) to 1,749.4 million hours.

Unemployment jumped in Queensland to 6.5 per cent and South Australia (to 5.9 per cent).

As seen in the chart below, the size of Australia's labour force has also surged over the past year, jumping by 341,900.

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