18/05/2004 - 22:00

Labour Force

18/05/2004 - 22:00

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Labour Force

WESTERN Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest rate in more than 25 years, dropping from 5.5 per cent to 5 per cent between March and April. This was the lowest unemployment rate since the current monthly data series began in February 1978, and was also the lowest unemployment rate recorded in any of the States (though not the Territories) since April 1990. WA's previous unemployment rate low, of 5.3 per cent, occurred in April and May 1989.

The improvement was driven by a sharp rise in employment of 1.6 per cent between March and April, the largest monthly increase since March 1993. The increase was composed entirely of full-time jobs, and part-time employment fell by 0.4 per cent over the month. Through the year to April, WA's employment rose by 3.4 per cent.

Although these State labour market data are welcome, it would be prudent to bear in mind the volatility of State labour market data, and that monthly increases in WA's employment of such magnitude are often followed by a correction in the subsequent period. WA's employment grew by more than 1.5 per cent on only 10 occasions in the past 25 years, and 8eight of these saw employment fall in the following month. April also has a large number of public holidays, which make adjusting for seasonal influences on employment more difficult.

Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.6 per cent over the month to April 2004, while employment growth of 0.6 per cent over the month and 2.1 per cent through the year to April exceeded market expectations. WA accounted for just over a quarter of Australia's 56,200 growth in employment during April.

Source: ABS Cat.6202.0

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