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Australian Employment Rates – The Year That Was

The year is coming to an end, and with it comes the end of another decade. Although the common consensus is that “history never repeats itself”, as any recruiter will tell you, “past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour”. With this in mind, let us look back at the year that was in Australian employment rates.

This year has certainly had its ups and downs – many effecting Australian employment rates. Firstly, the Federal Election had us all at the edge of our seats and the outcome came as a shock to many. It would be misguided of me not to mention the drought now affecting more than half of Australia. Finally, in more recent times, the bushfires are still raging nationwide.

Despite these events, however, we still saw an increase in the employment rate between December 2018 and October 2019. There was an increase of approximately 1.6% in the employment rate during this period. As of October 2019, in fact, 62.5% of the population (aged 15 years and over) is employed. Compared to the rest of the world, we have the eighth highest employment rate. This ranks us above Canada, Japan and the United States. The last time our employment rate was this high was back in January 2011.

The underemployment rate, however, also saw growth throughout this period. This measure looks at the percentage of the population who are currently in part-time or casual employment and are able to take on more hours, however, due to the market are unable to find these hours. The rate rose from 8.3% in December, 2018 to 8.5% in October, 2019. The unemployment rate also rose during this time, form 8.4% to 8.5%.

Recruiters and economists alike are predicting continued growth over the next few years for the employment rate, however, there is still uncertainty around the other two measures. 


~ Akalia McFadden 

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