Australia’s unemployment rate dips to 5.3 per cent

Australia’s unemployment rate has lowered from 5.4 per cent to 5.3 cent, the lowest level in six years.

This came on the back of a surprise loss of 3900 jobs in July.

The size of the labour force fell by 9600.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics also showed a fall in the participation rate – or the number of people actively looking for work – to 65.5 per cent from 65.7 per cent.

Callam Pickering, APAC Economist for global job site Indeed, said it was a mixed result with the lower unemployment rate driven by a lower participation rate and said it had to fall a lot further before wages would start to rise.

“But we should remember that employment rose by 58,200 people last month and the trend is headed in a positive direction,” Mr Pickering said.

“The recent improvement in full-time employment is positive. Full-time employment growth was weak towards the start of the year but has since accounted for almost two-thirds of employment growth over the past three months.

“While trend employment growth remains solid there is still much progress to be made on the labour front. Broader measures of unemployment, such as the underutilisation rate, are still near their peak.

“This largely explains why wage growth continues to disappoint, despite a small improvement in the June quarter.

“The unemployment rate will need to dip well below 5 per cent before that triggers a material improvement in wage conditions.”

Paul Dale from Capital Economics concurred.

“The surprise decline in employment July isn’t a big concern as other evidence suggests the economy has not stalled. But even if the labour market were to shift back into top gear in the coming months, the road to much higher wage growth is a very long one,” Mr Dale said.


An award winning author and journalist, commentator, lecturer, and speaker, Leon is a freelance business journalist who covers a range of areas including politics, strategy, globalization, leadership and all the big trends ahead. His main skill is summing up all the news that’s around. For the last 30 years, his main focus has been on management issues. He also produces two podcasts for RMIT University, Talking Business and Talking Technology. Leon has worked for Fairfax, News Limited, AAP and the Herald and Weekly Times.

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