The Australian labour market enters a slow decline – with employment and participation falling

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released of the latest labour force data today (December 15, 2022) – Labour Force, Australia – for December 2022. My overall assessment is that the labour market started to enter a decline – albeit slowly in December 2022 with employment falling by 14,600 (-0.1 per cent) although full-time continued to grow but was outstripped by the decline in part-time employment. The participation rate fell 0.2 points, which meant the fall in the labour force reduced the rise in unemployment that occurred as a result of the employment decline. However, the underlying (‘What-if’) unemployment rate is closer to 5.4 per cent rather than the official rate of 3.5 per cent, which indicates the labour market still has slack. There are still 1,361.7 thousand Australian workers without work in one way or another (officially unemployed or underemployed).

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