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2 in 3 Aussies now in paid work

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
18 July 2019 1 minute readShare
Crowd of people

Employers have never had such a high proportion of Australians in the workforce to choose from, latest jobs figures show, although the volume of job ads is falling despite the economy adding more positions.

Of course, as the nation’s population rises, so too — one would hope — does the size of its workforce.

But latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show the nation’s trend workforce participation rate — the proportion of people in paid work — reached a new record high of 66.0 per cent in June 2019.

“Which means nearly two of every three people are currently participating in the labour market,” said Bruce Hockman, the ABS’ chief economist.

“The participation rate for 15 to 64-year-olds was even higher and closer to four out of every five people.”

More people staying in the jobs market helped keep the trend unemployment rate steady at 5.2 per cent, from a revised May figure.

For the month of June, 26,000 new jobs were created — 15,000 of which were full-time positions, the ABS said.

The total number of Australians now in paid work (to the nearest hundred) now stands at 12,875,700.

The number of hours worked edged up by less than 0.1 of a percentage point for the month, but is now up by 2 per cent over the past year — above the 20-year average of 1.7 per cent.

Underemployment, which the RBA has cited as a primary concern and a major factor to its recent interest cuts, remained steady in June at 8.3 per cent.

Jobs ads paint a different picture

While jobs growth figures appear positive, the number of new vacancies being advertised has slipped, according to SEEK.

The jobs board said in its latest employment report that the number of new jobs being advertised was 7.7 per cent lower than the same time a year ago.

“All states and territories are showing a decline in job ad volume, except the Australian Capital Territory (+5.3 per cent) and Tasmania (+0.9 per cent),” it said.

Despite falling volumes, advertised salaries are on the rise, according to SEEK, with the average advertised salary 2.7 per cent higher year-on-year.

That was led be steep gains in the science and technology sectors, where salaries soared by 19.2 per cent.

“As we know, June is the last month of the financial year and tends to be a quieter month for job ad volume,” SEEK’s ANZ managing director, Kendra Banks, said.

“We have seen a continued decline of job ad growth this month extending the trend of 2019. However, the first few months of a new financial year — with businesses setting new priorities and budgets being refreshed — normally form the busiest months for recruitment in the whole year.”

She added: “It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the next few months, where I believe we will get a clearer picture of the current employment market.”

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2 in 3 Aussies now in paid work
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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