Release type: Media Release


New ABS Labour Force Figures


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

More Australians are in jobs and getting the work hours they want – but they’re still not getting the wage increases they need.

New labour force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today shows the number of people employed is up - by 33,500 - and the number of underemployed is down.

A slight uptick in the overall unemployment rate is due to a welcome increase in the participation rate.

Unemployment remains at an historically low level.

The overall result in South Australia (3.9%) and Queensland (3.2%) are particularly encouraging, with both recording their lowest unemployment rates since records began in 1978.

But these economic circumstances should be resulting in stronger wages growth.

These results once again demonstrate why we need to update the workplace system and close the loopholes that are undermining wages growth.

The Albanese Labor Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit brought employers, unions and other groups together to address these issues.

As the Summit made clear, our nation needs to do a better job at reducing barriers to employment so that all Australians have the opportunity to participate to their full potential - in secure and safe work, with decent wages.

Our goal is to build a better, better-trained and more productive workforce, boost incomes and living standards, and create more opportunities for more Australians.

Today’s figures show:

  • The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.5% in August, 2022.
  • However, the level of seasonally adjusted employment increased by 33,500 in August.
  • The participation rate increased by 0.2 percentage points over the month, to 66.6%. That’s close to the record high of 66.8% in June 2022.
  • This increase equated to a 47,500 rise in the labour force over the month, to 14,079,800 in August 2022.
  • The underemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to 5.9%.
  • This is well below the 8.8% recorded in March 2020 (when Australia recorded its 100th case of COVID-19).
  • The employment to population ratio increased over the month, by 0.1 percentage points, to 64.3%, close to the record high of 64.4% in June 2022.
  • The youth unemployment rate rose by 1.4 percentage points over the month, to 8.4% in August 2022, however it remains well below the 11.6% recorded in March 2020.
  • The youth participation rate fell by 0.2 percentage points over the month, to 71.5% in August 2022, but remains well above the 68.3% recorded in March 2020.

Today’s headline results underscore the resilience and strength of demand in the Australian labour market.

Expectations for low unemployment remain solid.

But with a labour market this tight we should be seeing stronger wage growth – and our Government is committed to delivering it.