Australian unemployment fell by 0.1% to 6.1% in December, an outcome that was well ahead of expectations for an increase to 6.3%. In total 37,400 net jobs were created during the month with full time roles jumping by 41,600, overshadowing a 4,100 decline in part time employment. Despite a small 0.01% uptick in labour market participation to 64.75%, the increase in employment was enough to see unemployment dip by 0.1%.
With the labour market firing on all cylinders in both November and December (November recorded an increase in net employment of 44.9k) total employment growth for calendar year 2014 came in at 213,880 in seasonally-adjusted terms. Full time employment increased by 149,838 with part time recording a smaller gain of 64,042.
In percentage terms full time employment grew by 1.88% with part time only slightly behind at 1.82%.
At 213,880 the increase in employment was the largest seen since 2010. It more than tripled the 60,800 gain recorded in calendar year 2013.
While employment growth was far stronger than the previous three years the figure did not keep pace with the increase in the labour market which grew by an additional 254,000 persons. Given the lag in employment growth to that of the labour force the total number of unemployed rose by 40,135.
Presented in percentage form the number of unemployed persons increased by 5.58%. Growth in the size of the labour force was 2.08%. That for employment was 1.87%.
From a State perspective the largest increase in employment was recorded in Victoria with a net gain of 79,100. New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland came in second, third and fourth respectively. South Australia was the only State to record a decline with a contraction of 1,000 reported.
When adjusting the gains to percentages the Apple Isle, Tasmania, was the clear outperformer with a gain of 5.63%. Western Australia (+2.83%) and Victoria (+2.77%) also reported strong annual growth.
Turning to youth segment, those persons aged between 15-24 years of age, unemployment tumbled to 13.05% from 14.53% in November. A fall in participation of 0.27% to 67.26%, following a sharp increase in recent months, largely explains the “unbelievably” strong performance. For the month net employment increased by 4,471 while that from a year earlier rose by 7,865. Thanks to the miracle of seasonality 21,789 unemployed vanished from the statistics in December although, from a year earlier, this increased by 21,587.
Despite the boost in employment growth, especially given it was entirely driven by full time workers, total aggregate hours worked fell by 0.48% to 1.602m. From a year earlier growth was a paltry 0.34%.
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