Australian labour market deteriorating as employment and participation contract

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released of the latest labour force data today (August 18, 2022) – Labour Force, Australia – for July 2022. With Covid infection rates rising quickly, and already around 780,000 workers working few hours than usual because of sickness, I predicted last month that there would be a deterioration in the labour market in the coming months. That trend emerged in July 2022. The labour market deteriorated in July 2022 with employment and participation both contracting. While the official unemployment rate fell to 3.4 per cent this was all down to the decline in participation. Had the participation rate not declined the unemployment rate would have risen from 3.6 per cent to 3.9 per cent. Further, the underlying (‘What-if’) unemployment rate is closer to 6.1 per cent rather than the official rate of 3.4 per cent. There are still 1313.7 thousand Australian workers without work in one way or another (officially unemployed or underemployed). The only reason the unemployment rate is so low is because the underlying population growth remains low after the border closures over the last two years. Overall, the situation worsened over July.

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