The latest report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has indicated that employment figures in the Land Down Under expanded at a slower pace than expected during September. However, the data revealed a slight decrease in the unemployment rate for the same period.
According to the ABS, the net employment in September saw an increase of just 6,700 jobs, a figure that falls below market expectations of a more substantial gain of 20,000 jobs. This comes in the wake of August’s impressive job growth of 63,300.
Despite the underwhelming employment figures, the unemployment rate in September experienced a slight decline to 3.6%. This result surpassed market expectations, which had anticipated that the rate would remain steady at 3.7%. The decrease in the unemployment rate can be partially attributed to the participation rate, which fell to 66.7% in September. This drop follows a record high of 67% in August.
Australia’s labor market, while showing signs of slowing, remains robust. In the 12 months leading up to September, the nation saw a notable net employment increase of 394,300. This growth occurs within a context where the policy interest rate is poised to reach its highest level in a decade, currently standing at 4.1%.
Kate Lamb, the Chief Labor Statistician at the ABS, commented on the decline in unemployment, explaining that it indicates a shift among individuals who had been classified as “unemployed but still looking for work” to a status of no longer seeking employment.
In addition to the employment figures, the report also noted that hours worked in September decreased by 0.4%, following a 0.5% fall in August. This shift suggests that the resilience of the Australian labor market may be starting to show signs of strain, although it remains relatively strong.