Unemployment and hours worked on the rise

Women shaking hands in meeting. | Newsreel
Unemployment increased slightly in March but the job market remains solid. | Photo: Sturti (iStock)

Australia’s unemployment ranks grew by 21,000 in March but the underlying labour market trends remain stable.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 3.8 percent, 0.1 percentage points higher than the previous month.

Overall, the number of jobs fell by about 7000 and the number of unemployed rose by 21,000.

“The small drop in employment in March followed a larger-than-usual flow of people into employment in February, following smaller-than-usual flows in December and January,” the ABS said.

“However, in March, the flows into employment had returned to a more usual pattern.”

“The labour market remained relatively tight in March, with an employment-to-population ratio and participation rate still close to their record highs in November 2023.

“While they have both fallen by 0.4 percentage points since then, they continue to be much higher than their pre-pandemic levels.”

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked rose by 0.9 per cent in March.

“The recovery in growth in hours worked over the last two months has seen the annual growth rate rise to 1.7 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This was still weaker than the annual growth rate in employment of 2.4 per cent, but that partly reflects the very high level of hours worked a year ago.”

The full report is on the ABS website.