Unemployment rate rises in April

Employment, participation rate also up

Unemployment rate rises in April


By Mina Martin

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 4.1% in April, up from 3.9% in March, fresh ABS figures showed.

Rising employment, unemployment, participation rate
With employment rising by around 38,000 people and the number of unemployed growing by some 30,000 people, the unemployment rate rose to 4.1%, and the participation rate edged up to 66.7%.

“The 30,000 people increase in unemployment reflected more people without jobs available and looking for work, and also more people than usual indicating that they had a job that they were waiting to start in,” Bjorn Jarvis (pictured above), ABS head of labour statistics, said in a media release.

“The increases in both employment and unemployment in April saw the participation rate up by 0.1 percentage point to 66.7% in April. It has been relatively high, above 66.5%, since March 2023.”

The employment-to-population ratio remained steady in April at 64%, indicating that recent employment growth is broadly keeping pace with population growth.

“This suggests that the labour market remains tight, though less tight than late 2022 and early 2023,” Jarvis said.

Steady monthly hours worked

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked remained stable between March and April.

“The seasonal change in hours worked in April 2024 was similar to the normal pattern we usually see around the Easter holidays,” Jarvis said.

“In contrast to what we saw last year, when fewer people than usual took time off around the Easter holidays in April 2023, the proportion of people working reduced hours in April 2024 was more similar to what we saw before the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Underemployment and underutilisation rates
The ABS figures also showed that the underemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 6.6% in April, while the underutilisation rate, which combines the unemployment and underemployment rates, increased by 0.3 percentage points to 10.7%. Despite these increases, both rates remain significantly lower than their levels in March 2020.

Compare the latest ABS data with the figures in March and February.

Trend data insights

The trend unemployment rate stayed at 4% in April. Trend employment grew by 31,000 people (0.2%), aligning with the average growth observed over the 20 years before the pandemic.

Hours worked increased by 0.4% between March and April, aligning more closely with employment growth since December 2023 and surpassing the previous peak in June 2023.

The employment-to-population ratio stayed at 64% in April, close to the high levels of 2023 and 1.9 points higher than March 2020. The participation rate remained at 66.7%, consistent with the past year and well above the 65.6% in March 2020.

The underemployment rate held steady at 6.6%, and the underutilisation rate remained at 10.6%.

“The most recent trend data continues to point to a relatively tight labour market, consistent with what we have seen in Single Touch Payroll data and job vacancies data,” Jarvis said.

Access the Labour Force, Australia, April 2024 report for more details.

Get the hottest and freshest mortgage news delivered right into your inbox. Subscribe now to our FREE daily newsletter.


Related Stories

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!