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Saturday, 16 June 2018

Glacial improvement

Tightening, slowly

I took a look here at the employment growth figures during the week, which broadly showed that the unemployment rate in Australia is back down to where it was in 2013. 

The number of unemployed persons dropped sharply in the month of May, down by 26,800 to 714,600, taking the unemployment rate down from 5.6 per cent to 5.4 per cent. 

So that's the good news. 

The state making the most substantial inroads lately has been Victoria, with the number of unemployed persons down to 174,400 from 208,500 a year earlier.

Very good news!

The unemployment rate in Victoria has declined accordingly to 5.1 per cent, down from 6.1 per cent a year ago.

So that's getting quite close to the 4.9 per cent of New South Wales. 

Like Sydney before it, Melbourne is enjoying the fruits of its construction boom.

Some progress, then, but overall there are still more than 700,000 out of work, and there remains plenty of slack in the labour force nationally. 

A look at the trend chart for unemployed persons underscores this point.

In October 2014 the two most populous states had a combined 442,900 unemployed persons, a figure that's since fallen by about 60,000 or 14 per cent. 


Elsewhere, however, in aggregate there's been little meaningful progress. 

With regards to underemployment, the the trend rate declined to 8.5 per cent in May 2017, which is a bit below peak of 8.7 per cent seen in 2017. 

Meanwhile, the underutilisation rate also declined by 0.4 per cent to 13.9 per cent over the past year. 

Just about enough evidence here to suggest an ongoing improvement.

But in a word: glacial.