Signs of weakening in the Australian labour market

Today (April 18, 2024), the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest – Labour Force, Australia – for March 2024, which shows that the labour market is weakening with employment falling and unemployment rising now that more normal patterns in behaviour after the holiday period disruption have returned. The good news is that full-time employment continued to rise but was more than offset by the loss of part-time work. The stronger full-time outcome meant that underemployment fell marginally. The rise in unemployment would have been worse had not the participation rate fell. The drop in both employment and participation is a signal of weakening. There is still 10.3 per cent of the available and willing working age population who are being wasted in one way or another – either unemployed or underemployed and that proportion is increasing. Australia is not near full employment despite the claims by the mainstream commentators and it is hard to characterise this as a ‘tight’ labour market.

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