SA Data Wrap—Employment growth slows but improved levels persist

Total employment in South Australia showed a flat trend in October 2018, as it has over the last 6 months, according to ABS Labour Force Survey data released today. Full-time employment shows similar patterns.

But although employment growth has slowed recently, total employment in October was still 1.5 per cent higher than a year earlier, and the labour market is now considerably improved from the quite weak conditions that were reached in 2015.

The South Australian unemployment rate was steady at 5.5 per cent in October, down from 5.9 per cent a year earlier, and at its lowest level since 2012. The fall in the unemployment rate through the year is due to the rise in employment, with little change in the participation rate.

The underutilisation rate combines both the unemployed and employed persons who are underemployed—defined as `people who would prefer, and are available for, more hours of work than they currently have’—as a proportion of the labour force. It is thus broader in scope than the unemployment rate as a measure of the proportion of persons who are unable to access employment to the extent that they wish.

The SA underutilisation rate was 15.0 per cent in October, down from 15.3 per cent a year ago. The underutilisation rate is now significantly improved from its level of 18 per cent about 3 years ago, although it remains too high.

South Australia’s 5.5 per cent unemployment rate compares with a national unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent. This differential is relatively small by historical standards. Unemployment rates presently are low in NSW (4.6 per cent) and Victoria (4.5 per cent) but higher in Queensland (6.2 per cent), Western Australia (5.9 per cent) and Tasmania (5.6 per cent).

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