ACT News

ACT unemployment rate up to 5.1% despite fall in national figure

The ACT unemployment rate has increased for the sixth consecutive month, despite the national rate dropping below 6 per cent for the second time in 18 months.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows ACT unemployment rose from 5 per cent to 5.1 per cent in October.

The ACT unemployment rate rose marginally, despite the national trend.
The ACT unemployment rate rose marginally, despite the national trend.  Photo: Gabriele Charotte

The figures show the ACT has the highest trend unemployment rate since April 2001, despite the participation rate remaining steady at 70.2 per cent.

Nationally, unemployment fell from 6.2 per cent to 5.9 per cent with an additional 60,000 jobs created. The national participation rate moved from 64.9 per cent to 65 per cent.

The figures have been questioned by several economists including CommSec chief economist Craig James.

He said large job gains were often followed by downward corrections in the following month.

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"It is hard to believe that almost 60,000 jobs were created in one month with 40,000 of these jobs in full-time positions," he said.

"Still, economic momentum continues to pick up, underpinned by strong home building. Home building approvals are at record highs, together with tourist arrivals and car sales."

The Northern Territory continues to have the lowest trend unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent while NSW has recorded a rate of 5.7 per cent.

National Australia Bank economist Ivan Colhoun also said there was volatility in the numbers although national employment was strengthening.

"Employment is clearly continuing to strengthen a little and the unemployment rate is beginning to trend down slightly," he said.

The bureau said the national unemployment figures were influenced by an increase in male full-time employment (up 33,500) and female part-time employment (24,000).

"The largest absolute increase in seasonally adjusted employment was in Victoria, up 26,100 persons," a bureau spokesman said.

SEEK employment data shows the number of ACT job advertisements published by the company has increased 26 per cent in the past 12 months, the highest rate in Australia.

However, SEEK managing director Michael Ilczynski said the increase had slowed in recent months, falling 0.3 per cent in the September quarter.

Mr Ilczynski said it was not uncommon for advertisements to slow towards the end of the year as employers waited until the new year to hire staff.

"The strength in year-on-year growth rates continues to remain strongest in economies least exposed to mining," he said.  

The data also shows the fitness industry is the fastest-growing jobs category nationally, recording double-digit gains in the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania.