Labour force commentary December 2014

NATIONAL ESTIMATES

Australia's unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 6.1% in December 2014 (seasonally adjusted). The number of unemployed persons decreased by 16,200 to 759,200 in December 2014 (seasonally adjusted).In trend terms the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.2% in December 2014. The number of employed persons in December 2014 increased by 14,400 to 11,646,800 and the number of unemployed persons increased by 700 to 770,900 in trend terms. The trend participation rate remained at 64.7% in December 2014. December 2014 saw the seasonally adjusted participation rate increase less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8%. The seasonally adjusted number of employed persons increased by 37,400 in December 2014 to 11,679,400. The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, increased 0.1 percentage points to 60.8% (seasonally adjusted). In trend terms, the employment to population ratio was unchanged at 60.7%.

Employment to population ratio, Persons, July 2013 to December 2014

Graph: Employment to population ratio, Persons, July 2013 to December 2014


Seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 41,600 persons to 8,105,300 persons while part-time employment decreased by 4,100 to 3,574,100 persons in December 2014. The increase in total employment resulted from:

  • an increase in female full-time employment, up 23,300 persons
  • an increase in male full-time employment, up 18,200 persons
  • an increase in female part-time employment, up 6,700 persons
  • a decrease in male part-time employment, down 10,800 persons.

Seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked decreased 7.7 million hours (0.5%) in December 2014 to 1,597.8 million hours.

STATE ESTIMATES

The largest absolute increases in seasonally adjusted employment were in Victoria (up 30,800 persons) and Queensland (up 22,500 persons). The largest absolute decrease in seasonally adjusted employment was in Western Australia, down 7,000 persons.

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted participation rate was in Victoria (up 0.4 percentage points), while the largest decreases were in Tasmania (down 0.6 percentage points) and South Australia (down 0.4 percentage points).

The largest increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was in Western Australia (up 0.7 percentage points). The largest decreases in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate were in Queensland (down 0.7 percentage points) and Victoria (down 0.3 percentage points). The ABS recommends using trend estimates to analyse the underlying behaviour of the series.

Seasonally adjusted estimates are not published for the territories.

Unemployment rate, States and Territories, November 2014 and December 2014

Trend
Seasonally Adjusted
November
December
November
December
%
%
%
%

New South Wales
5.9
5.9
6.0
5.9
Victoria
6.7
6.7
6.8
6.5
Queensland
6.6
6.6
6.8
6.1
South Australia
6.5
6.5
6.6
6.5
Western Australia
5.4
5.6
5.3
6.0
Tasmania
6.9
6.8
6.9
6.7
Northern Territory
3.8
3.6
np
np
Australian Capital Territory
4.9
4.9
np
np
Australia
6.2
6.2
6.2
6.1

np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated

AGGREGATE MONTHLY HOURS WORKED

Through a process of ongoing quality assurance, the seasonal adjustment of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series has been refined to provide more reliable seasonally adjusted and trend data over the entire series. Two specific refinements were made to take account of the Labour Force supplementary survey program, and the timing of Easter in 2014. 

These two refinements have resulted in revisions to the seasonally adjusted and trend Aggregate monthly hours worked series with the largest revisions occurring in April 2013, April 2014 and September 2014. Revisions to earlier periods back to the start of the series in February 1978 were generally minimal.

AGGREGATE MONTHLY HOURS WORKEDThrough a process of ongoing quality assurance, the seasonal adjustment of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series has been refined to provide more reliable seasonally adjusted and trend data over the entire series. Two specific refinements were made to take account of:

  • the Labour Force supplementary survey program, and
  • the timing of Easter in 2014.


Since the October 2014 issue of this publication, all other labour force seasonally adjusted series have included adjustments to account for effects of the supplementary survey program. When the Aggregate monthly hours worked series was initially assessed no significant supplementary survey effect was identified. However, with the incorporation of additional observations and further assessment, the Persons not in the labour force supplementary survey (previously conducted each September) has been identified as having a statistically significant effect on the Aggregate monthly hours worked series. An adjustment has been applied to remove this effect from the seasonally adjusted series.

In 2014 Easter fell unusually late in April (Easter Sunday was on 20 April) and ANZAC Day fell the following Friday (25 April). This combined with school holidays had two impacts on the Labour Force Survey. First, obtaining responses was more difficult as householders were absent due to the long weekends and holidays and the ABS extended enumeration by one day to ensure that an acceptable response rate was achieved. Second, the actual hours worked in the reference week reported for employed persons may have been less than normal due to these holidays. While the derivation of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series takes account of public holidays and school holidays, further analysis confirmed that these adjustments did not sufficiently take account of the unusually late Easter in 2014 and its proximity to ANZAC Day. An adjustment has been included in the seasonally adjusted Aggregate monthly hours worked series to account for this effect. 

These two refinements have resulted in revisions to the seasonally adjusted and trend Aggregate monthly hours worked series with the largest revisions occurring in April 2013, April 2014 and September 2014. Revisions to earlier periods back to the start of the series in February 1978 were generally minimal.

The incorporation of these refinements to the seasonal adjustment of the Aggregate monthly hours worked series has no implications for other labour force seasonally adjusted series as these already include adjustments for effects of the supplementary survey program and the timing of Easter. However, as previously advised, other seasonally adjusted series will not have the adjustments for the supplementary survey effects applied to periods prior to December 2013 until the next annual seasonal reanalysis is undertaken in March 2015.

The Labour Force Aggregate monthly hours worked series are presented in the quarterly Australian National Accounts: National income, Expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0) and used in deriving several productivity measures including GDP per hour worked and Gross value added per hour worked market sector. As a result of the refinements made to the Aggregate monthly hours worked series, relevant Key national accounts aggregates in publication tables 1 (trend) and 2 (seasonally adjusted) and spreadsheet table 1 from the September quarter 2014 Australian National Accounts: National income, Expenditure and Product have been updated and are available from the Download tab of this publication.

Source: http://www.abs.gov.au/

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