New labour market numbers from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) indicate that while there were fewer Australians out of work in April 2017, many of them were in part-time jobs.
The seasonally-adjusted stats show that from March 2017 to April 2017, the number of employed persons across Australia went up by 37,400 – that’s 49,000 more part-time workers, and 11,600 fewer full-time workers.
The seasonally-adjusted monthly hours worked in all jobs decreased 4.3 million hours (0.26%) in the past month, with fewer hours being worked in full-time jobs and more hours being worked in part-time jobs.
Taking the longer view, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped from 5.9% by 0.2% to 5.7% in April 2017, the trend estimate remained steady at 5.8% – just 0.1% higher than the unemployment rate trend at the same time last year.
This relatively steady unemployment rate remains consistent with previous economic indicators from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), which predicted gradual fall in unemployment over time.
Gradual growth in the labour market was also anticipated by the RBA, with the understanding that this would lead to gradual wage growth over time. That said, other recent ABS reports show that this improvement is yet to materialise.
Barring significant changes in Australia’s economy, it is understood that the RBA is likely to keep the nation’s cash rate at the record-low 1.5% for the foreseeable future.