Australian unemployment rate soars in January

The bureau also reported the number of hours worked actually fell by 8.1 million or 0.4 per cent despite the increase in the proportion of full-time workers.

The bureau reported the national under-utilisation rate, which combines the unemployment rate with the number of people underemployed, climbed to 13.9 per cent. It is the highest under-utilisation rate since April 2018.

Unemployment was steady in NSW at 4.5 per cent, despite a 1500 fall in the number of people with a job, while it moved around sharply in other parts of the country.

Victoria’s unemployment rate jumped half a percentage point to 5.4 per cent, it’s highest level since June 2018. It increased by 0.6 percentage points in Queensland to 6.3 per cent while it lifted by 0.4 percentage points in both Western Australia (to 5.8 per cent) and Tasmania (to 5.9 per cent).

The jobless rate fell in South Australia to 5.7 per cent from 6.2 per cent while it edged down in the ACT to 3 per cent. It was steady at 5.3 per cent in the Northern Territory.


The Reserve Bank has made clear it has cut official interest rates in a bid to take the jobless rate down to at least 4.5 per cent at which it believes this will put upward pressure on wages.

The bureau separately reported average weekly earnings in November, showing a 1.5 per cent increase over the past six months.

The average ordinary time earnings for full-time workers rose to $1659, a lift of $52 a week over the past year.

The average earnings figures do not take into account compositional changes in the workforce. Wednesday’s wage price index showed wages up by 0.5 per cent in the December quarter to be just 2.2 per cent higher through the year.


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