Labour Force

WA'S seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased from 5.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent between January and February, despite a small drop in employment (0.3 per cent, or 2,000 jobs). Growth in part-time employment of 4,000 jobs (1.4 per cent) was more than offset by a 6,000-job (0.9 per cent) decline in full-time employment. The decrease in the unemployment rate was due to a decline in WA's participation rate to 65.4 per cent, its second-lowest level in nearly eight years.

The State's unemployment rate has fallen from a recent peak of 6.3 per cent in July 2003, and employment rose by 1 per cent through the year to February.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased from 5.8 per cent to 5.9 per cent over the month to February. Employment growth of 1,300 over the month was too weak to match growth in the adult population and labour force, and unemployment rose by 11,100 (1.9 per cent).

The February data includes significant revisions to the population estimates and changes in the definition of unemployment. The Australian Bureau of Statistics notes that: "The effect of the definitional change on the unemployment rate is to revise it upwards by an average of 0.15 percentage points over the period from April 2001. When combined with the downward effects of the revised population benchmarks, the unemployment rate has been revised upwards over this period by an average of 0.11 percentage points."

Source: ABS Cat.6202.0


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