Employment rate steady despite big jobs loss

The unemployment rate is stable at 3.9 per cent for the second consecutive month.

The unemployment rate is stable at 3.9 per cent for the second consecutive month. Photo: Getty

The unemployment rate has held steady at 3.9 per cent for a second month, as the job market remains tight.

Employment dropped by 65,000 while the number of unemployed Australians jumped by 1000, allowing the jobless rate to plateau, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Thursday revealed

Though the fall may appear significant, there were still 52,000 more people employed in December than September as seasonally adjusted employment grew by about 32,000 people per month.

ABS head of labour statistics David Taylor said the figures revealed reasonably strong underlying growth during 2023.

“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,” Taylor said.

“Both the unemployment and underemployment rates remained relatively low and the participation rate and employment-to-population ratio relatively high, suggesting that the labour market remains tight.”

A 0.1 percentage point increase in November brought the unemployment rate to 3.9 per cent.

Before the ABS’s data drop, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said tackling inflation tended to come with a growth in unemployment but that his government was focused on wrangling both.

“Having a three in front of the unemployment figure is very unusual,” he said in Melbourne.

“We are working on ways in which we can put that downward pressure on inflation whilst supporting employment.”


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