Jan 17, 2013

Jobless rate steady — despite Campbell Newman’s efforts

Australia's December 2012 unemployment rate has edged closer towards 5.4%. But a comparison with 2011 shows the jobs market is more resilient than most punters give it credit for.

Glenn Dyer — <em>Crikey</em> business and media commentator

Glenn Dyer

Crikey business and media commentator

Australia finished 2012 with a jobs market showing more signs of softness as the unemployment rate edged higher to 5.4%. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1% from the revised November rate of 5.3% (which was originally reported as a fall of 0.1% to 5.2%), according to today's report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics. On a trend basis (which attempts to smooth out the bumps in the seasonally adjusted data), the rate was 5.4%. The ABS said the seasonally adjusted number of people employed fell 5,500 to 11,538,900 in December as full time employment fell 13,800 to 8.112 million. The decrease in employment was driven by lower full-time employment, down 13,800 people to 8,112,500. But part-time employment rose 8,300 to 3.426 million. The number of people unemployed increased by 16,600 people to 656,400 in December. The participation rate remained steady at 65.1%, for both the seasonally adjusted and the trend basis. And the seasonally adjusted aggregated work hours fell in December, down 1.1 million hours to 1,623.5 million hours. But on a trend basis, they rose slightly to 1.663 million hours. The report came after a number of companies cut jobs this week. Yesterday, building products maker Boral said it would cut 700 office jobs, while BlueScope Steel outlined plans to sack 170 workers at its Hastings plant in Victoria. Vodafone also said it would close or rebrand Crazy John's chain of mobile phone stores by February 20, putting at risk about 400 jobs across Australia. But a comparison with December 2011 shows that there was growth in the jobs market in 2012: the ABS said the number of people employed rose 1.3% over the year, while the number of people out of work rose 5.9%. The unemployment rate rose to 5.4% in December 2012, from 5.2% for the same month in 2011, not a big move but evidence that on the whole the jobs market was more resilient than many predicted. The unemployment rate last touched 5.4% in September of last year. This comes despite several headline losses at major companies and especially in the Queensland public service, during the year that the Newman government slashed employment levels.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

One thought on “Jobless rate steady — despite Campbell Newman’s efforts

  1. paddy

    Possum’s graph says it all really.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details