Australian labour force – stronger employment growth defying RBA interest rate hikes

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released of the latest labour force data today (December 15, 2022) – Labour Force, Australia – for November 2022. The labour market continued to improve in November 2022 with employment rising relatively strongly by 64,000 (0.5 per cent) on the back of strong full-time and part-time employment growth. The participation rate also rose by 0.2 points, which meant the change in the labour force was larger than the change in employment, and as a consequence, official unemployment rose. There is some evidence that more people are taking on extra work to cope with the cost-of-living pressures. While all this suggests a fairly tight labour market, the underlying (‘What-if’) unemployment rate is closer to 5.1 per cent rather than the official rate of 3.4 per cent. There are still 1,325.5 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. But that is changing as immigration increases.

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