BCEC Monthly Labour Market Update – October 2018

AuthorsAlan Duncan, Rebecca Cassells, Yashar Tarverdi
PublishedNovember 2018
PublisherBankwest Curtin Economics Centre

Welcome to the October 2018 edition of the BCEC Monthly Labour Market Update.

Produced monthly, this economic commentary explores the latest labour force data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), providing expert insights and analysis around key labour market indicators.

We’ve also developed an online Data Insights platform, where you can explore current and historical labour market data including changes to part-time and full-time employment, and track the unemployment rate across the nation from the past four decades.

Key findings from October 2018 data include:

Australia’s labour market continues to gather pace

Signs of Australia’s strengthening labour market continue to come with each month’s ABS release. The national unemployment rate has fallen a further 0.1ppt to 5.1% in the month to October 2018 on trend figures – the lowest since April 2012 – and an additional 25,400 jobs have been created over the month, 9 in 10 of which have been in full-time positions.

Should we be concerned about falling labour force participation?

The latest labour force participation patterns show that for the first time in some time, participation rates are down on trend yearly terms for nearly all states and territories and for both men and women. This is an unusual pattern compared to previous BCEC MLMU releases, where most states and territories saw growth in labour force participation, particularly among women.

WA’s labour market outlook a step in the right direction

WA added 2,800 workers to the State over the last month, placing WA among the top three performers across states and territories when looking at employment growth in absolute numbers. The extra good news is that most of the additional jobs were full-time, with an extra 5,600 jobs added since September. Unemployment in the West has also fallen slightly over the last month on trend terms, down to 5.9%, however, this was driven by a decrease in unemployment among men rather than women.