Australian unemployment rate hits 6 per cent

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Australia has hit 6 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

There were 728,600 people confirmed as unemployed in Australia during January, on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is an increase of 16,600 people over December's figures, and has lead to the ABS reporting that unemployment had increased by 0.1 percentage points.

The ABS is attributing this shift mostly to a decrease in full-time employment. The number of people employed in full-time work shifted down by 7,100 individuals to hit 7,953,000 during January.

However, part-time employment showed a slight increase, with an additional 3,400 people finding work of this nature.

The seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate held steady at December's figure of 64.5 per cent. This result is down 0.8 percentage points on January last year. 

These numbers parallel with those reported by Roy Morgan earlier this month.

Roy Morgan data also confirmed that unemployment had increased by 0.1 per cent, although differences in surveying methods mean Roy Morgan's unemployment estimates are significantly higher than those published by the ABS.

According to Roy Morgan, an estimated 1.44 million Australians were unemployed during January – the equivalent of 11.3 per cent of the workforce.

In a statement released February 4, Roy Morgan CEO Gary Morgan attributed this result to an expansion in the workforce triggered by new graduates taking up full-time roles. 

"These results are not a surprise as full-time employment traditionally surges in January as graduates take up their positions," said Mr Morgan. 

"Full-time employment has increased in 12/13 years since the turn of the century while part-time employment has declined in 9/13 years over the same time period as staff taken on during the pre-Christmas sales period either become full-time employees or are let go."

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