Australian labour market – contracts for second consecutive month – where is the Treasurer?

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released of the latest labour force data today (February 16, 2023) – Labour Force, Australia – for January 2023. My overall assessment is that the labour market is now in decline after two consecutive months of employment loss. In January 2023, total employment fell by 11,500 (-0.1 per cent) with full-time employment falling by 43.3 thousand, while part-time employment increased by 31.8 thousand. Participation also fell further to 66.5 per cent and we saw unemployment rise significantly (by 21,900 persons). Workers are being squeezed by two forces: the demand for labour is declining at the same time as the supply is increasing as a result of the relaxation of border restrictions and increased migration. The underlying (‘What-if’) unemployment rate is closer to 5.6 per cent rather than the official rate of 3.7 per cent, which indicates the labour market still has slack. There are still 1,398 thousand Australian workers without work in one way or another (officially unemployed or underemployed). Overall, the RBA deliberate strategy to force unemployment onto workers and deprive them of income is working. Shameful!

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