Unemployment rises as full-time jobs tank

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By Leith van Onselen

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has just released labour force data for the month of December, which registered a slight increase in the unemployment rate, with the rounded estimate remaining at 5.8%. However, the number of people employed fell sharply, driven by large losses in full-time jobs, with the job losses masked by a big fall in the labour force participation rate.

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According to the ABS, in seasonally-adjusted terms:

  • The number of people employed decreased by 22,600 to 11,629,500 in December. The decrease in employment was due to decreased full-time employment, down 31,600 people to 8,067,700, offset by increased part-time employment, up 9,000 to 3,561,800.
  • Unemployment increased 8,000 (1.1%) to 722,000. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 13,300 to 532,400 and the number of unemployed persons looking for part-time work decreased 5,300 to 189,600.
  • The participation rate decreased 0.2 pts to at 64.6%.
  • Aggregate monthly hours worked increased 0.6 million hours to 1,634.0 million hours.

I’ll be back later with my usual detailed report.


    • As The Financial Times notes – LaGarde is the first of the Central Bankers ( if that’s what the IMF is!) to utter the ogre word, Deflation. She; they know what is upon us…..

      • Of course they know! Baby boomer retirement guarantees it. Technology guarantees it. 1st world decline guarantees it.

        Only these fools with fingers in the dyke think they can keep the sea back…

  1. With job prospects continuing to head south what could possibly go wrong with property… 😀

    I cannot imagine the disgruntled masses of unemployed will look kindly on any political party that continues to leave the flood gates of immigration open… Close the doors now please!

    There has been a lot of bad news about of late and its only Jan 16th…. Could 2014 see some major swings?

      • This. And the only other qualification was the implantation of a small speaker-cable jack behind the ear, so that Abbott can plug his mic into the minister and speak directly to the Australian people by proxy.

  2. Yes, very interesting to see Innes Wilcox of AiG calling for more skilled immigration


    i get there’s a difference between skilled immigration and immigration in general, but with the ABS job stats (not to mention Roy Morgan’s) looking as bad as they are, with AiG’s own performance of manufacturing, services and constructions either negative or weak, it’s an incredible time to be calling for this.

    What i also found interesting was that in NSW, which is seeing fastest housing growth, there was nearly 40k jobs lost in last few months.

    In WA, despite the slowdown, still +16.5k in last months.

    This portends even weaker numbers ahead as the Capex boom continues to deflate.

    the RBA will not be happy with what they’ve seen today.

    • @Jordan

      I tend to think AIG’s call is at least partly driven by the desire to put downward pressure on wages and other employment costs.

      • partially agreed. I think they’re almost entirely driven by reducing wage and other input costs for their constituency (with of course labour being the biggest contributor).

        they care nought for what impact higher immigration may have on other areas of the economy eg housing or infrastructure.

  3. The AUD fell nearly a full cent on this unemployment data, the data is made especially ordinary due to Bloxo and the rest of the MSM economists calling solid numbers this month.

    22.6k jobs lost and a decline in the participation rate of 0.2% is definetly a bad print especially considering the time of year. Without the 0.2% drop in the participation rate we would be looking at unemployment over 6% for December.

    If this result is the best the housing price/Abbott government led recovery can produce then JP Morgan’s forecast of 6.5% unemployment by mid-year is no longer farfetched.

  4. Is this also adjusted for like the 1k+ people arriving each day? So a loss of 31k positions, plus 30k arrivals/month or whatever number of them that are also looking for full time jobs?

    Yet the cost of everything is infinitely expanding at a much higher clip than inflation, not least houses which are running at like 5x it, which flows onto all business costs… They tell me it will cost $23.95 to change my standard watch battery, I tell them I’ll have it changed next time I’m overseas.

    This country is a freaking train wreck.

    • Bankers own the government and they need more people to support the ponzi real estate bubble they have created by lending irresponsibly.

      There will be immigration and lots of it.

    • Yeah, 2 years ago in Bangkok my watch battery gave up. Walked outside the hotel and nearby was a guy selling watches…asked him could he replace my battery…no problem, 2 minutes later new battery and watch set to right time all with a smile for 70 baht, around $2 dollars. The watch is still going….Oh but you got to watch those street vendors cos they’ll rip you off…..Jeez it’s true that this is a train wreck Marvin….we are gouged,shafted,screwed here in Aus from the moment we wake up…naw make that 24hr, 365 days every friggen year and it’s getting worse. Cheers

  5. Leith – Good on you for fighting the urge to use the words ‘I told you so’ in your ongoing coverage.

    I could never be so gracious.

  6. What has / is being described above is much more a decline in democracy than economy. We all know from history what the trigger is for anarchy and what is

    likely to fill this vacuum

    A savagely pissed off Aussie is capable of committing acts of violence just like other races.

    It won’t be different here, it will be a great shame to have lost forever something so wonderful.

    Australian mateship.