Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 5.1% against expectations in November when the labour force grew faster than employment. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that employment increased by 37,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, beating analyst expectations of an increase of 20,000. Australia’s total employment is now 12.694 million, the highest level on record.
37,000: The Australian economy added 37,000 jobs in November.
5.1%: The Australian unemployment increased to 5.1%.
65.7%: Labour force participation rose to 65.7%.
+3: According to the NAB, the business confidence index fell to +3 index points.
According to the November Labour Force figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), employment jumped by 37,000 in seasonally adjusted terms, which exceeded analyst expectations of an increase of 20,000. Total employment now stands at 12.694 million, the highest level on record. Since November 2017, full-time employment has increased by 180,200 while part-time employment increased by 105,500.
The rise in the labour force participation rate reflects an increase of Australians looking for work, which can be interpreted as the increased confidence in finding work for those who previously stayed away from the job market.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the largest increase in employment was in Victoria (up 30,900), followed by Queensland (up 21,800).
The job spike in November was entirely fueled by part-time jobs. While part-time employment increased 43,400, full-time employment decreased 6,400. In Victoria where the most impressive job gains were posted, Business Insider Australia reports:
“The Victorian state election was held during the month, potentially explaining the large rise in employment in the state. 29,362 of the 30,900 jobs created during the month were part-time positions.”
Apprehension is being expressed over the slow growth of wages, the slowing rate of job growth and the potential impact on the broader economy. The Sydney Morning Herald notes:
“…Of more concern were increases in measures of the broader jobs market. The under-employment rate increased to 8.5 per cent while the under-utilisation level lifted by 0.2 percentage points to 13.6 per cent.
The federal government pointed to separate figures from the Jobs and Small Business Department showing a lift in the annualised wage increases contained in federally registered enterprise agreements.
The annual increase jumped by 0.5 percentage points to 3.2 per cent. This was driven by the public sector as private sector agreements lifted by a modest 0.2 percentage points to 3 per cent.
However, the number of people on registered agreements continues to fall while there is no clear connection between these wage increases and those across the broader economy.
Two years ago, annual wage rises in federal agreements hit 3.5 per cent. At the same time the wage price index fell to its lowest level on record of 1.9 per cent.
The annual rate of jobs growth is also slowing. Through 2017 employment grew by 3.4 per cent with almost 412,000 jobs added to the nation while over the past 12 months it has slowed to 2.3 per cent.
AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said with jobs growth slowing and the quality of new jobs ebbing, there would be ongoing pressure on households.”
While the changes to Australia’s workplaces due to advances in technology, including artificial intelligence and automation remain to be seen, a new sample study reveals anxiety many workers have for their future:
“More than half (51 per cent) of Australian workers worry about their jobs due to the impact of technologies such artificial intelligence (AI) and automation.
They fear the impact of technology on job security even more so than the state of the economy, according to research by the Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for the New Workforce in collaboration with YouGov.
Most feel they are not ready for the changes they expect over the next five years.
The survey which polled 1000 people found that almost three in five (59 per cent) are prepared to take charge and be responsible for preparing themselves for the future of work.
They want their learning to be work relevant. “Learning on the job” was ranked as their preferred (38 per cent) way to learn.
Swinburne’s Centre for the New Workforce is working alongside partners including Deloitte and LinkedIn to help organisations prepare their people to prosper in the face of digital disruption.
The Centre investigates the fundamental changes in the future of work and develops new approaches to learning.
‘New technologies are transforming work and workplaces as we know them, and this pace of change is set to accelerate further in the coming years,’ says Linda Kristjanson, Swinburne Vice-Chancellor.
‘As a society we must make sure we invest in our people as much as we invest in technology, to ensure we can thrive in the future of work.’
Sean Gallagher, Director of the Centre for the New Workforce, says companies tend to focus more on their technology requirements than on preparing their people.
‘The future of work must foremost be about people,’ says Gallagher.
‘Australian workers want to take on the responsibility of their own upskilling to prepare for the future of work.
They want their learning to be work-relevant, accessible, and integrated with work in a supportive environment.’”