Australian labour market – weak employment growth, rising unemployment

Today’s release of the – Labour Force data – for June 2015 by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that the Australian labour market marked time this month with employment growth positive but weak and unemployment edging up slightly as a consequence. The data continues the repeating pattern over the last 24 months or so where employment growth zig-zags around the zero line and is weak at best. The unemployment rate rose slightly to 6 per cent, which was where we were a year ago. Underemployment remains high. Teenagers gained some full-time work but lost a near equivalent number of part-time jobs (probably a good net outcome). In general, the teenage labour market remains in a parlous state and requires an urgent policy intervention. While the press is claiming the latest data is a were “positive”, we can only conclude that if mediocrity has become our benchmark. Far from showing “the economy is in reasonable shape”, the data continues to confirm that the economy is incapable of generating sufficient employment growth to dent the huge unemployment pool, much less start reducing underemployment.

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