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  • Writer's pictureCrest Economics

Latest Unemployment Figures in Australia Take a U-Turn- March 2024

Australia’s jobless rate dived down to 3.7% from 4.1% in February, as employers seemingly shrug off any signs of an economic slowdown. The economy added 116,600 of which 2/3 are in full-time roles, compared with economists’ forecast for only a net gain of 40,000 positions.

The large increase in employment in February followed larger-than-usual numbers of people in December and January who had a job that they were waiting to start or to return to. This translated into a larger-than-usual flow of people into employment in February and even more so than February last year.

Seasonal adjusted monthly hours worked rose by 2.8%, driven by individuals returning or starting work. However, underutilisation rate, which combines the unemployment and underemployment rate, fell by 0.5% to 10.3% - sits 0.9% higher than its low of 9.4% in November 2022. Underemployment rate remains at 6.6%, and overall participation rate fell less than 0.1% to 66.6%.

The labour market had been weakening since September 2022, when the jobless rate was 3.6%. Australia’s economy slows down to a crawl, growing at just 0.2% in the last quarter, quashed by the 13 interest rate hikes by Australia’s central bank. RBA’s February forecasts has the unemployment rate creeping higher to 4.2% by June and 4.3% by the year’s end.

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