Growth in employment for eighth straight months in May 2017

Monthly trend full-time employment increased for the eighth straight month in May 2017 as full-time employment grew by a further 19,300 persons, while part-time employment increased by 5,900 persons, sustaining an increase in total employment of 25,200 persons. Notably, full-time employment has increased by around 124,000 persons since September 2016, with strength over the past five months, at around 20,000 persons per month. Although, the trend employment increased by 194,200 persons (1.6%) over the past one year, which is still below the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (1.8%). It has increased since December 2016, when the year-on-year growth was at 0.8% and reflected relatively low employment growth through most of 2016. Over the same 12 months period the trend employment to population ratio (measure of how employed the population aged 15 years and over) is increased by less than 0.1% to 61.2%. Further, the trend of monthly hours worked increased by 2.9 million hours (0.2%) to 1,677.7 million hours in May 2017 led by full-time workers. The trend unemployment rate in Australia remained at 5.7% in May 2017, while the trend underemployment rate (quarterly measure of employed persons wanting more hours) increased from 8.7% to 8.8% between February and May 2017. The underemployment rate is an important indicator of the spare capacity of workers in Australia, and has risen for the sixth consecutive quarter to a historical high of 8.8%.     

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