No real surprise with the June jobs and unemployment data, with the seasonally adjusted data almost a mirror image of what happened in May.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the unemployment rate edged up to 5.2%, as forecast by the market, while there was a 27,000 fall in employment as the number of full-time jobs fell 33,500 to 8.065 million, offset by a rise of 6600 in the number of part-time gigs (3.435 million).

Remember that in May employment rose 38,900, with 46,100 new full-time jobs reported and the loss of 7200 part-time jobs, so this fall only partially offset that rise.

The total number of people unemployed increased by 7200 people to 631,300 in June, the ABS reported, and the monthly aggregate hours worked showed a fall last month of 19.6 million hours to 1602.1 million hours. That was after a fall in May of 4.7 million hours to 1627 million hours.

The ABS said the participation rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 65.2%, which continues the one blot on Labor’s jobs record — participation.

But the less volatile trend series showed employment increased to 11,517,600 — up 10,600 people — with the jobless rate steady at 5.1% and the participation rate also steady on 65.3%. Unemployment rose 1100 to 622,800. In trend terms, aggregate monthly hours worked fell 1.1 million hours to 1617.9 million hours.

Unusually, there was little deviation between the states — this was a very uniform month for the so-called patchwork economy. South Australia saw a jump in unemployment to 6.4%, a full 0.8 points, but that was on the back of a big lift in participation (in the face of the national trend). Queensland, conversely, saw a fall to 5.3%, but that was off a big fall in participation. WA similarly saw a drop to 3.5%, but that too was off a drop in participation.

The numbers might put some wind back in the sails of the “rate cut looms” crowd, but keep in mind the trend and how the rest of the year has played out so far.

Peter Fray

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