Weak economic undertow carries a steady unemployment rate for May

13 June 2019

The national unemployment rate stayed at 5.2 per cent for the month of May but the number of jobs created did rise by over 42,000.

A record number of Australians are either working or looking for work with a participation rate of 66 per cent.

While the unemployment rate stayed put, the amount of actual hours worked fell, giving an indication of the weakness underlying the economy.

Chief economist at BIS Oxford Economics Sarah Hunter explained this underlying weakness when she spoke to the ABC.

“The vast majority of jobs created were part time,” she said.

“As a result the underemployment rate ticked up again, to 8.6 per cent.”

“But, on a trend basis, growth in full-time employment remains robust – the economy has added 266,000 full-time jobs over the last 12 months.”

Falling job advertisement numbers indicate employment growth is likely to keep slowing and Seek figures say the best sectors for employment have been education, health, farming, mining and energy and sport and recreation.

In the property industries of design and architecture, construction and real estate, all saw job ads decline by around 20 per cent or even more than that.

Other sectors to record significant falls in employment were banking and finance, engineering, trades, sales, manufacturing, transport and logistics, office administration, advertising and media.


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