Finance Work Unemployment rate falls to 6.8 per cent
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Unemployment rate falls to 6.8 per cent

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Australia's unemployment rate fell from 7.0 to 6.8 per cent. Photo: Getty
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Australians gained 90,000 more jobs than they lost in November as the state of Victoria joined the economic recovery.

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday morning shows the nation’s unemployment rate fell from 7.0 to 6.8 per cent over the month.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said the data showed a significant strengthening in Victoria’s economy.

“Employment in Victoria increased by 74,000 people in November, following last month’s increase of 82,000 people,” Mr Jarvis said.

“The gap between Victoria and the rest of Australia has narrowed considerably since September, off the back of two consecutive months of strong recovery in employment and hours.

“Employment in Victoria in November was 2.1 per cent below March, compared to 0.7 per cent in the rest of Australia, while the gap in hours worked remained more pronounced (4.5 per cent versus 0.4 per cent).”

On the national stage, full-time employment led the charge.

The number of Australians with full-time jobs increased by 84,200 to 8.73 million people, while part-time employment increased by 5800 to 4.14 million people.

Although that will help allay fears that part-time jobs are driving the economic recovery, full-time employment is still lower today than it was this time last year but part-time employment is higher.

The ABS data shows the economy had 110,900 fewer full-time jobs in November 2020 than in November 2019, but 27,800 more part-time jobs.

Nonetheless, EY chief economist Jo Masters said it was encouraging that Australians had continued to re-enter the workforce, “with participation rising above pre-COVID levels to a record 66.1 per cent”.

And BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter also struck a positive note.

Dr Hunter said the data confirmed the recovery was “well-entrenched” – though she noted the pace of future jobs growth would now slow “as the boost from Victoria’s re-opening fades”.

“Not unexpectedly, Victoria is responsible for the majority (80%) of the increase in employment in November, with the easing of restrictions in Melbourne allowing many businesses to re-open and take on staff,” Dr Hunter wrote in a note.

“But New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania surprised on the upside, with significant gains [too].”

 

The ABS figures coincided with the release of separate job advertisement data from employment site SEEK.

In November, the number of job ads rose higher than the same time last year for the first time since the pandemic.

Job ads were up 1 per cent year on year and 8.6 per cent over the month, with SEEK noting that hiring activity in the hospitality and tourism industry had continued later into the year than usual.

Hospitality and Tourism contributed the most to the monthly growth in jobs listed on seek.com.au, followed by Trades and Services and Healthcare and Medical.

“After a challenging 2020 for hirers and job seekers, this is a more positive note in which to end the year,” said Kendra Banks, managing director of SEEK ANZ.

“We can have some confidence [that] the easing of restrictions nationally, together with the reopening of businesses and industries, is driving a return towards pre-COVID levels.”