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  • Australia’s unemployment rate has slipped to 4.6 per cent over July reflecting a population “falling out of the labour force” during lockdowns
  • Unemployment rates fell by 0.3 percentage points during the month while the national participation rate fell by 0.2 of percentage points
  • ABS Head of Labour Statistics Bjorn Jarvis says the data were not necessarily indicative of a strengthening labour market but rather a reduced one
  • Australia’s employed population grew by 2200 people to total 13,156,400

Australia’s unemployment rate has slipped to 4.6 per cent over July reflecting a population “falling out of the labour force” during lockdowns.

The monthly Labour Force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics captured the early weeks of the Greater Sydney lockdown, which brought increased restrictions to the workforce.

Unemployment rates fell by 0.3 percentage points over the month to land at 4.6 per cent while national participation rates fell by 0.2 percentage points to 66 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted employment in Australia increased by 2000 people between June and July but hours worked fell by 0.2 per cent, according to the update.

ABS Head of Labour Statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the labour market changes in New South Wales had made a large impact on the data.

“The fall in the national unemployment rate in July should not necessarily be viewed as a sign of strengthening in the labour market,” he explained.

“It’s another indication of the extent of reduced capacity for people to be active in the labour market, in the states with the largest populations.”

Mr Jarvis affirmed the large changes in New South Wales and Victoria were important in understanding changes in Australia’s labour market.

“There were big falls in New South Wales in both employment (-36,000) and unemployment (-27,000), with the labour force reducing by around 64,000 people,” he said.

“Before the pandemic, people in New South Wales accounted for 31.8 per cent of national employment and Victorians accounted for 26.5 per cent,”

Australia’s employed population grew by 2200 people to total 13,156,400.

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