Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level in 48 years - confirming the time is right to focus on higher wages, better job security and building a bigger, better-trained and more productive workforce.
Today’s ABS Labour Force figures continue to reflect the underlying strength and resilience of the Australian labour market and the seriousness of Australia’s acute skills shortages.
Seasonally adjusted employment increased by 88,400 in June 2022 to stand at a record high of 13,599,300.
Employment has now risen for eight consecutive months and is 597,100 (or 4.6%) above the level recorded in March 2020, at the start of the COVID pandemic.
Full-time employment increased by 52,900 (or 0.6%) over the month, to a record high of 9,496,300 in June 2022. Part-time employment rose by 35,500 (or 0.9%) over the month, to 4,103,000 in June 2022.
The participation rate increased by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to an all-time record high of 66.8% in June 2022, as stronger labour market conditions encouraged more people to enter the labour force.
Against the stronger backdrop, the unemployment rate decreased by 0.4 percentage points over the month, to 3.5% in June 2022. The unemployment rate has not been lower in almost 50 years.
Conditions for women also strengthened in June, with the rise in female employment (of 55,700) accounting for 63.0% of the total increase in employment over the month. The female unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage points over the month, to 3.4% in June 2022 – the lowest rate recorded since February 1974.
Labour market conditions for youth also improved in June, with youth employment increasing by 23,200 (or 1.1%) over the month, to a record high of 2,046,100 in June 2022. The youth unemployment rate fell from 8.8% in May 2022 to 7.9% in June 2022, the lowest rate recorded since August 2008.
The underemployment rate increased slightly from 5.7% in May to 6.1% in June 2022, although it remains well below the 8.8% recorded in March 2020.
While the continued fall in unemployment is welcome news, there are still a range of challenges in our economy and labour market.
In addition to high and rising inflation, rising interest rates and falling real wages, we also have significant global uncertainty and acute skills shortages.
The National Skills Commission’s Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) shows online job advertisements increased by 1.2% (or 3,700 advertisements) in June 2022, to 303,400. Job advertisements have now increased for six consecutive months and stand at their highest level since April 2008.
A lot of our economic challenges come from a wasted decade, including cuts to skills and training, flatlining productivity and deliberate attacks on wages from the previous government.
The challenges facing the economy are growing and it will get harder before it gets easier – but it will get easier.
To address these challenges, the Government will bring together Australians, including unions, employers, civil society and governments, for the Jobs and Skills Summit, which will be held in Canberra on 1-2 September.
The Summit will cover a range of topics, with a particular focus on:
- Keeping unemployment low, boosting productivity and raising incomes;
- Delivering secure, well-paid jobs and strong and sustainable wages growth;
- Expanding employment opportunities for all Australians, including the most disadvantaged;
- Addressing skills shortages and getting our skills mix right over the long-term;
- Improving migration settings to support higher productivity and wages;
- Maximising jobs and opportunities from renewable energy, tackling climate change, the digital economy, the care economy and a Future Made in Australia; and
- Ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay.
We’re focused on building a bigger, better-trained and more productive workforce; boosting incomes and living standards; and creating more opportunities for more Australians to get ahead.
It’s why we’re also delivering on our plans to boost the capacity of the economy including through cheaper childcare, cleaner and cheaper renewable energy and investments in skills and training.