Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen by 0.1 per cent in May to 3.6 per cent, according to the latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The ABS reported around 76,000 jobs were added during the month of May, making amends for the more than 4000 jobs lost in April.
It was also reported the number of unemployed people decreased by 17,000 during the month.
ABS Head of Labour Statistics Bjorn Jarvis said it was the first time the number of people employed in Australia reached 14 million.
“Just before the start of the pandemic, almost 13 million people were employed in Australia. In May 2023, this had risen to just over 14 million people,” he said.
The ABS also reported the employment-to-population ratio rose 0.2 per cent to 64.5 per cent in May, a record high.
“In addition to there being around a million more employed people than before the pandemic, a much higher share of the population is employed,” Mr Jarvis said.
Mr Jarvis added there were strong signs in the nation’s participation rate, with a greater share of women in Australia being employed than ever before. The participation rate was boosted by 0.1 per cent to 66.9 per cent in May. For women, it rose by 0.2 per cent to 62.7 per cent, while for men, it remained at 71.2 per cent.
But, the latest data from the ABS could spell trouble for homeowners, with further rate hikes seeming more likely before the year’s end.
“By historical standards, the employment situation remains very tight and that keeps the pressure on the RBA to hike once or twice more, and that’s before we take the Fed’s hawkish meeting into account,” City Index Senior Market Analyst Matt Simpson said.
The Reserve Bank of Australia chose to hike rates by 25 basis points earlier this month, bringing the nation’s cash rate to 4.1 per cent, and also warned that “some further tightening may be required”.
“We’d all like to see the peak, but the threat of further hikes linger,” Mr Simpson added.
Mr Simpson said it would come down to the release of CPI data on June 28th – a key factor in determining the RBA’s next decision.