Australian Bureau of Statistics releases latest Labour Force data

Colliers International’s Research division explores what the latest unemployment rates mean for Victoria

- By Anneke Thompson, Colliers International’s national director of Research

The April edition of the Australian Bureau of Statistics Labour Force data has four key positives for Victoria:

1. The state’s unemployment rate remained steady at 6.1 per cent (seasonally adjusted).
2. Victoria has 115,608 more employed people than at this time last year. To put this in perspective, this is 83,400 more jobs than the next fastest-growing state, which is Queensland.
3. Of the total jobs created in the year to April 2017 across the major Australian states, 66 per cent were in Victoria.
4. The huge growth in employment in Victoria is hidden by our increase in population; that is, Victoria is effectively creating enough jobs to keep up with our massive population growth.

These statistics provide some intriguing results for Victoria. Seasonally adjusted, our unemployment rate remained flat for the month, at 6.1 per cent. Nationally, unemployment fell from 5.9 per cent in March to 5.7 per cent in April. On the face of it, it would seem that these Labour Force figures are nothing for the property industry to get excited about in Victoria.

However, we as an industry should be more interested in what the labour force survey tells us about the volume of jobs that are created. After all, it is our role to accommodate these additional employees in offices, shops, hospitality, factories and warehouses, etc.

The volume figures for Victoria are exceptional. In the year to April 2017, Victoria added an additional 115,600 new jobs. To put this in perspective, this is 83,400 more jobs than the next fastest-growing state, Queensland. New South Wales, which has the country’s lowest unemployment rate at 4.7 per cent, added 21,900 jobs throughout the year to April. In total, 66 per cent of all new jobs created in Australia during the past year were in Victoria.

So why the flat unemployment rate? Put simply, “participation” in the labour force (the number of people looking for work) increased at the same rate as employment did. We would expect significant growth in the participation rate, as our population growth through offshore and interstate migration is currently the highest in the country. The exceptional jobs growth figures mean that Victoria is effectively generating enough jobs to accommodate our growing population, which is an exceptional result for our state.

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