Unemployment rises, but labour force participation continues to expand

Man holding an unemployed sign

The unemployment rate has risen by 0.2 percent, but labour force participation has reached new height, with more Australians in full-time work than ever before.

The seasonally adjusted rate of unemployment rose to 5.1 percent in May, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures.

However, this has been outweighed by a strong expansion in labour force participation, with 38,900 entering the workforce in May. The 0.3. percent increase has taken Australian labour force participation to a record high of 65.5 percent.

According to the ABS, the increase in seasonally adjusted employment was driven by an increase in full-time employment, and partly offset by a decline in part-time employment.

This positive result is well above market expectations and reaffirms the Australian economy’s impressive position, with rapid growth and relatively low unemployment.

“Australia’s strong jobs record and our low unemployment rate reaffirm the strength and resilience of the Australian people and our economy,” said Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Bill Shorten.

Our strong economic fundamentals stands in stark contrast to many advanced economies that are facing crippling unemployment levels, he added.

Yet, while Australia continues to out perform the developed world, the Minister is aware that there are job losses in some sectors of our economy, which continue to put employers under pressure. The Government has invested $9.3 billion in Job Services Australia over the next four years to provide tailored assistance to unemployed people to assist them back into employment.

“Another key challenge will be to build the nation’s wealth by boosting productivity, so that workers will have access to the job opportunities that will emerge as our labour market strengthens,” Shorten said.