Jack Moran looks into the most recent ABS unemployment statistics and what implications they might have for UON students.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) recent unemployment estimate for March 2016, the national unemployment rate decreased to 5.7 per cent last month. The unemployment rate had been between 5.8 per cent and 6.0 per cent since December of 2015. The ABS has also found, however, that the annual trend growth employment rate has eased since December when compared to the relatively strong growth seen late last year.
According to the ABC’s assessment of these statistics in a recent news article, a 5.7 per cent unemployment rate is a two-and-a-half-year low for Australia. Indeed, the unemployment rate nationally was higher this time last year, estimated at 6.1 per cent in the ABS’ March 2015 data. It then fluctuated between 6.0 per cent and 6.2 per cent until September, before dropping to 5.8 per cent by November, resulting in the high growth trend in employment that this quarter’s figures have not continued.
This low unemployment rate has been caused by part time employment increasing with 34,900 jobs added since February. Full-time employment actually decreased by 8,800 and similarly total hours worked decreased as well. In their article, the ABC said that this reflects a shift to part-time work in Australia’s labour force. A diminishing amount of full-time employment can be worrying to new graduates as while some research indicates that part-time work may be better for you mentally, part-time work also means less opportunities to earn a living and more stress if you are required to work multiple jobs at once.
On a more local level, the unemployment rate in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie is higher than national figures at 6.9 per cent according to February’s estimate and the Central Coast’s unemployment rate is similarly higher as it currently sits at 6.5 per cent. The cause of higher unemployment figures could be recent job losses in the local mining sector such as those at the Drayton Mine in Muswellbrook and at BHP Billiton.
More comprehensive employment data, including the rates for Newcastle and Lake Macquarie and the Central Coast, for this month will be released by the ABS within the week.
If you’re looking for careers advice, UON’s Careers Service has plenty of resources available at their Careers Hub website. You can also book an appointment with a Careers Counsellor at Callaghan, Newcastle City, Central Coast and Sydney campuses through the same site. More information on the UON Careers Service can be found here.