ACT News

Canberra's unemployment rate steady at 5.2 per cent in December

The ACT's unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2 per cent in December figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday show.

154,200 people were in full-time work in Canberra in December.
154,200 people were in full-time work in Canberra in December. Photo: Louise Kennerley

This is in line with the seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate which held steady at 5.8 per cent.

Canberra tied with NSW for the second lowest unemployment rate of any state or territory.

The Northern Territory, with just 4.1 per cent of its population unemployed, had the best result while South Australia was the worst on 7.3 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted figures are not provided for the territories.

Canberra Business Chamber chief executive officer, Robyn Hendry, welcomed the figures, saying they reflected the significant growth in the strength of the private sector since the last major round of public service job cuts in 1996.

"This is good news, coming as it is off the back of the contraction in public sector employment [in recent years]," she said.

"The private sector has held its own and this indicates just how much stronger it is than in 1996 [during the Keating/Howard public service cuts]."

Ms Hendry said the positive statistics followed recent ABS reports showing Canberra was the best place in Australia to be looking for a job in November 2015.

"In November we had 1.7 unemployed people  for each job vacancy [in the ACT]," she said.

This compared to a national average of four unemployed people per job advertisement and was well ahead of NSW with 3.3 per job advertisement.

Tasmania fared worst on this basis with 6.2 per job advertisement and South Australia was second worst with 5.9.

Canberra has improved from second place on this metric in November 2014 when the city had 2.3 unemployed people per job vacancy.

In December Canberra men continued to have a higher unemployment rate than women with 6.7 per cent of men unemployed.

This was up from 6.5 per cent the previous month.

Unemployment for women in Canberra in the ACT fell from 4.9 per cent to 4.8 per cent in December.

Of the 211,200 workers in Canberra in December 154,200 were in full-time work.

There were 314,000 Canberrans above the age of 15 and eligible to be considered in the labour force participation rate calculations in December, 2015.

Ms Hendy said the Chamber was excited and confident about the year ahead even though the "rhythm" would be rocked by the ACT and Federal elections.

"We have been experiencing export successes, there are new entrants into the retail market including Ikea and regional tourism has been positive," she said.

"There is also a full events calendar which will attract visitors to Canberra during the year ahead."

The strong national employment result has been welcomed by economists who said the result had come as a surprise to analysts, some of whom had predicted a fall of up to 12,500 jobs.

With 130,000 created around the country over the month the net loss of jobs only totalled 1,000.

Ms Hendry said she expected employment in the ACT to continue to grow.

"With the Christmas [holiday] period now behind us I would expect job opportunities to increase," she said.

Total employment in the ACT in December rose from 210,500 in November to 211,200, an increase of 700 overall.

This was an increase of 3000 people in employment on the 208,200 recorded in January 2015.