Unemployment stuck at 4 per cent
Australia’s official unemployment rate remains at 4 per cent.
The rate appears to be at its lowest level since the monthly jobs numbers were first collated in the late 1970s, though there have been several changes to the methods of calculating the figure since then.
The figures come from a survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The ABS says it is about 95 per cent sure that unemployment is somewhere between 3.7 and 4.1 per cent.
The most recent survey found the proportion of people aged 15 or over in work or looking for it remained steady near record highs at 66.4 per cent, seasonally adjusted. But the same survey revealed a 0.6 per cent decline in total hours worked last month.
In 2015, the ABS updated its Labour Force Survey to align “active steps” of job seeking defined by the International Labour Organisation, which considers a person to be employed if they work more than one hour per week.
A person is now considered to be actively looking for work if they call an employer to ask about a job position. So, a person who looks at jobs on a notice board but does not make contact with any employer is not considered to be unemployed and would be missing from unemployment figures.
Additionally, the Morrison government takes credit for job creation, even though the increase is driven largely by population growth, according to experts.
Prof Jeff Borland, a labour economist at the University of Melbourne, says that “the government doesn’t create those jobs”.
“The government creates some jobs in the public sector and by funding particular activities in the private sector,” he said.
“But it’s the overall economic environment that determines job creation, which the government only influences.
“They shouldn’t be held entirely responsible nor given all the credit for whatever growth there is.”
Dr Borland says that the government’s preferred metric of absolute jobs growth is the “wrong target” because “what we actually care about is the proportion of the population in employment, or in the labour force who are able to get employment”.