Release type: Media Release


New ABS Labour Force Figures


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

If anyone still needed proof that low wages won’t fix themselves – today’s labour force figures show the case is closed.

Unemployment and youth unemployment are down, full-time employment is up and underemployment is down – yet wage growth still isn’t where we want it.

New labour force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show that total employment increased by 32,200 in October 2022 and the unemployment rate fell to 3.4 per cent.

Full-time employment rose strongly over the month, by 47,100, to a record high of 9,525,900.

The unemployment rate hasn’t been lower since 1974.

Youth unemployment fell 0.5 points to 7.3 per cent.

And importantly the unemployment rate for young women fell to a record low of 6.6 per cent.

While we welcome historically low unemployment, we’re only just starting to see the beginning of wages growth.

Due to a decade of deliberate wage stagnation under our predecessors and the rising cost of living, workers’ wages are still going backwards which is why our plan to fight inflation and get wages moving again is so important.

While yesterday’s Wage Price Index of 3.1% is welcome – wages still aren’t there they need to be for Australian workers.

This figure comes after the Government backed an increase to the minimum wage in a submission to the Fair Work Commission – securing a 5.2 per cent increase.

But that was just the first step to get wages moving, and more needs to be done.

That’s why it’s so important we pass our Secure Jobs, Better Pay legislation.

Today’s figures show:

  • The level of employment increased by 32,200 over the month, to a record high of 13,617,900 in October 2022. 

  • Full-time employment rose strongly over the month, by 47,100, to a record high of 9,525,900 in October 2022. 

  • The unemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to 3.4 per cent in October 2022. The unemployment rate has not been lower than this since 1974.

  • The participation rate was steady over the month, at 66.5 per cent in October 2022, just below the record high of 66.7 per cent (recorded in June 2022).

  • The youth unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points over the month, to 7.3 per cent in October 2022.  

  • The underemployment rate decreased by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to 5.9 per cent in October 2022. 

  • While flood events in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania resulted in more people working reduced hours due to bad weather in October, overall hours worked at the national level increased by 2.3 per cent. 

While unemployment is an important measure of success in our economy – and we welcome these strong figures – it’s not the only measure. We recognise that there’s plenty more work to do. 

For the best part of a decade, our predecessors spun the data to mask significant challenges in our community and our economy.

We’ll always be honest and upfront with Australians about the challenges in our economy and the Albanese Government’s plans to address them.