Unemployment surges to 12-year high


The ABS has just released its unemployment estimate for January, which registered a large seasonally adjusted lift to 6.4% from 6.1% in December:

ScreenHunter_6019 Feb. 12 11.32

The more reliable trend estimate was flat, however, at 6.3%, although it was revised up from 6.2%.

Total employment decreased in seasonal adjusted terms by 12,200 to 11,668,700, with full-time employment decreasing 28,100 to 8,078,000, partly offset by a 15,900 increase in part-time employment to 3,590,700.


The participation rate remained steady at 64.8%. And, on a more positive note, aggregate monthly hours worked increased 8.2 million hours (0.5%) to 1 ,607.6 million hours.

The headline result disappointed analysts, who had expected the economy to add 7,500 jobs in the month, with unemployment forecast to rise to only 6.2%.

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

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.