WESTERN Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell from 5 per cent to 4.8 per cent between July and August, to its lowest since the 1970s. However, the decrease owed more to falling labour force participation than to employment growth. Employment rose by just 600 (0.1 per cent) between July and August, less than the 3,300 (0.2 per cent) increase in adult population. The participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points to 64.6 per cent, its lowest since 1993. Male participation has fallen particularly sharply in recent months, to a record low of 72.8 per cent in July and August.
Over the past year the picture is similar, with WA's employment growth of 1.7 per cent failing to match adult population growth of 2.2 per cent, and the fall in the unemployment rate was due to a 1.2 percentage point drop in the participation rate.
Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.7 per cent over the month to August, with a small drop in employment (0.1 per cent) offset by a 0.1 percentage point decrease in the participation rate. Australia's unemployment rate has risen from a 23-year low of 5.5 per cent since May. In the year since August 2003, Australia's employment has risen by 2 per cent, and its unemployment rate has fallen from 6 per cent.
Source: ABS Cat.6202.0