Jobs and unemployment fall

Yes, that’s right, jobs and unemployment both fell. In August, full time jobs were up 600 but part time down 9,300, net down 8,800. The unemployment rate fell to 5.1% because the participation rate also fell 0.2% to 65%, which is the lowest since 2006.

Revisions to last month were down, from 14k jobs to 11.7k, most were full time lost.

Dollar was up 10 pips, just noise.

Much more to come.

David Llewellyn-Smith
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  1. darklydrawlMEMBER

    Interesting stuff. Would that suggest that more people have ‘given up’ trying to look for work?

    Lowest since 2006 hey?

    • see my Twitter feed for the other chart going back 10 years. There was a big surge in part. rate after 2004 – ie. start of mining boom- from ca. 62.5-64 up to 66%, which was way above historical average from mid 1980s,

  2. Someone needs to check the data against tax returns / centrelink
    the numbers don’t sound right to me and this is evidenced by the revisions to last months figures.
    if we added in the hours people would like to work (ie part-time wanting full time) its got to be a different story.

    so retailers laid of the post carbon tax stimulus spend staff ??

    • The unemployment figure appears a mystery to many. Given it has been the measure used for some years to determine official ue rate, any shift in employment patterns would be nonetheless be broadly visible. Surely?

        • I see what you are saying. My thought is the number is historical, although not perhaps 100% numerically accurate. Over time shifts in either direction will still be represented, assuming same calc criteria.

          ie Another month of being The Lucky Country!!

      • Mystery it is not. This bullshitcial rate has been round since the Hawke-Keating days. They were most gracious for no longer having to counting CES data (CES -> DSS -> CentreLink). They most probably boasted to the public for reducing unemployment, or holding it steady during the recession we had to have.

        What has changed since then is the minimum number of work hours required to be considered employed. I think under Rudd it was 4 hours, then 1 hour. In conjunction with the silliest 4 questions the ABS asks in its’ “Labour Force Survey” (double speak for nickle-&-dime street shoe shiner) are the following catagories;

        You’re officially employed if;

        – You have worked, trained, studied for at least 1 hour per week, no! In the week the survey was conducted.

        – Registered with a JobNetwork Agency. Now that’s a funny one. Everybody receiving a (lack of) job related benefit from CentreLink, must be registered with a JobNetwork Agency. E.g Mission Australia, Salvos,…

        – Indiginous Aussies receiving CDEP.

        – Migrant or refugee receiving training. Wanna learn English? CentreLink will put you onto a JobNetwork provider, and onto an English course.

        If you happen to know anyone that works for CentreLink or a JobNetwork provider, the shift in unemployment from 2008/2009 is visible. Ask a CentreLink employee if they’re paying *(lack of) work related benefits* to people working over 30 hours per week but being paid peanuts. Though not consistently.

        We don’t need to get into any of what I’ve said. Cartesian common sense, and self-evident truths tell us like a bucket of cold water on a sleeping face that, Unemployment is not 5.1%.

        • Regardless of the ‘real’ percentage rate, assuming methodology remains same, any changes in ue will still be represented, surely? ie, six months from now rate say 5.8%, indicating more people unemployed.

          (ps you forgot Disability which anecdotally many longer-term ue are placed on, more generous payment rate)

          • Jumping jack flash

            Ah yes, the DSP. The other half of Howard’s economic miracle.

            Most of the in-laws are on it, in fact anyone “unemployable” and worth their salt makes the switch.

            It seems slightly harder to get on recently than, say, 8 years ago. A mate of mine recently tried to get on for being an alcoholic, he wasn’t, but they did knock him back. 8-10 years ago they probably wouldn’t have asked any questions.

          • 3d1k…not if the shift is a decrease in hours worked as compared to cutting staff in the past.

            I can’t speak for others but, as an SME, that will be my method if things get bad. However I’m guessing most small businesses would operate that way. Good experienced people are damned hard to replace so you’re very reluctant to let them out your door.
            In the last downturn there was an obvious tendency for this to happen. I’m guessing it is the same again.

        • dumb_non_economist

          Hey Flawse,
          I see an opportunity here for you! Downsizing and getting rid of an uncooperative employee!!

          I know you’d not like to work that way, but sometimes you just have to get dirty!

  3. After SA went from 5.2% to 6+% and back to 5.4% in space of 2 months (ie if you become UE you are immediately rotated off the survey)and the “stickyness” of UE I suspect like Treasury, the ABS is part of the propaganda ministry for the Govt. I wouldn’t be betting the farm on any of the stats produced by the ABS.

  4. Quite right. But back in the days when mining shares were traded on a blackboard, maybe a Household Labour Force Survey was the best way to approximate the employment levels. But today? Surely with the advent of computerised share trading, something similar could be derived as an alternative to simply sending out questionnaires to a random sample; hoping that a good portion of those receiving them fill them in and send them back, and then extrapolating the data……

  5. Mmmm.. unemployment numbers are sol ‘old economy’.
    Demographic headwinds on the participation rates will keep unemployment numbers low for a couple of decades to come.

    As we head down to 57%?
    The peak of the participation rates.

    • Jumping jack flash

      Thanks for the links. Very interesting.

      After so much tweaking, the unemployment number is virtually meaningless, and the participation rate is the one to watch.

      Until they wake up to this and start tweaking this number as well:

      If you’ve thought about working, you’re participating. If you say “working? nah, not for me.” then you’re “negatively participating”. This “negative participation” is averaged and weighted against “positive participation” such that it doesn’t have a directly opposite effect on it.

      Due to seasonal factors, the azimuth of the sun, moon phase, and prevailing wind, it will take 5 or 6 “negative participants” to completely offet one “positive participant”.