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Labour market remains tight latest data from ABS shows

2 minute read

The ABS has released its latest labour force data for the month of December.

Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate sat at 3.9 per cent in December, according to the latest labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A decrease in employment by 65,000 individuals, coupled with a modest reduction of 1,000 in the number of unemployed individuals, maintained the unemployment rate at a steady 3.9 per cent in December.

The fall in employment in December followed larger-than-usual employment growth in October and November, a combined increase of 117,000 people, with the employment-to-population ratio and participation rate both at record highs in November,” explained David Taylor, ABS head of labour statistics.

With the fall in both employment and unemployment in December, the seasonally adjusted participation rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 66.8 per cent, back to around the September level.

The strength in employment in October and November and the fall in December, reflected changes in the timing of employment growth in the last few months of 2023, compared with earlier years,” said Mr Taylor.

While the December employment fall was large, the number of employed people was still 52,000 higher than September.

“Looking over the past 12 months, seasonally adjusted employment increased by an average of 32,000 people per month, showing reasonably strong underlying growth during 2023.”

Mr Taylor noted that both the unemployment and underemployment rates remained relatively low and the participation rate and employment-to-population ratio are relatively high, suggesting that the labour market remains tight.

Market economists had anticipated a positive outcome, predicting a gain of 15,000 jobs in December.

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja's career in journalism spans well over a decade across finance, business and politics. Now an experienced editor and reporter across all elements of the financial services sector, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies.