Release type: Media Release


New ABS Labour Force Figures


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

Unemployment is back at record lows after 64,600 jobs were created in February 2023, new labour force figures show.

That means that since the Albanese Government came to office 278,000 jobs have been created.

The numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate back at 3.5 per cent after a slight increase in the previous month.

While today’s results are welcome news they at least partly reflect Australians taking some well-deserved leave over January. In January, more people than usual delayed the start of their job, contributing to the uptick in unemployment.

We still expect unemployment to moderate over the coming months, on the trajectory we outlined at Budget. 

Today’s figures show seasonally adjusted employment at a record high of 13,826,200 in February 2023. 

Encouragingly, full-time employment surged by 74,900 in February, to a record high of 9,669,300, and is now 416,000 (or 4.5 per cent) higher than a year ago.

The participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to 66.6 per cent.

While labour market conditions remain strong, there are still too many Australians engaged in insecure work, with the latest available ABS data showing that there were around 2.7 million casual employees with no paid leave entitlements in November 2022, of whom around 270,000 were engaged under labour hire arrangements. 

It is also clear that Australian workers need to continue to see their wages increase.

The growing uncertainty surrounding the global economic outlook, together with high inflation and rising interest rates, is putting considerable cost of living pressures on too many Australians. 

Accordingly, the Government’s economic plan is all about getting wages growing again but in a responsible way. It is encouraging to note that this is already starting to work, though the Government remains mindful that we need to see inflation moderate in order to secure real wages growth.

This is why the Government has supported wage rises for minimum and award wage workers; why it’s making it easier for parents to return to work; why it’s creating more TAFE and university places to increase human capital and address skill shortages; and why it’s investing industries that create secure, on-going, well-paid jobs for all Australians.