Australian underemployment at lowest levels since 2008

Shaun H. Ruff

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As the Australian labour market continues to strengthen, latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate the underemployment rate has hit 5.7 per cent, the lowest it has been since 2008.

The unemployment rate has also remained steady at 3.9 per cent with an estimated 60,600 extra people finding employment in May.

“The increase in May 2022 was the seventh consecutive increase in employment, following the easing of lockdown restrictions in late 2021,” explained Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.

“Average employment growth over the past three months (30,000) continues to be stronger than the pre-pandemic trend of around 20,000 people per month.”

At 77.4 per cent, the employment rate is also at an all-time high for workers between 15 and 64 years old.

“For the first time ever, more than two out of three Australians aged 15 and over were participating in the labour force,” Mr Jarvis added.

Economists predict further decreases to the unemployment rate and estimate it to stand at around 3.5 per cent by the end of the year.

This data confirming a tight labour market comes a day after the Fair Work Commission announced the minimum wage rate would rise by 5.2 per cent in July.

In a move that will affect over 2.7 million Australian workers, the minimum wage will now stand at $21.38 per hour ($821.60 per week).

Those on modern award rates will see a slightly lower increase of 4.6 per cent.

READ MORE: Will the wage increase push SMEs into the unknown? Here’s what a survey tells

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