Labour Force May 2021 – Unemployment rate drops to 5.1 per cent

Liberal Party of Australia

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that seasonally adjusted employment surged by 115,200 in May 2021, exceeding all market expectations, to stand at a record high of 13,125,100. Employment is now 130,400 (or 1.0 per cent) above its pre-COVID level in March 2020.

The vast majority of the rise in employment over the month was due to a robust increase in full-time employment, which rose by 97,500 (or 1.1 per cent) in May, to a record high of 8,965,200. Full-time employment is now 100,100 (or 1.1 per cent) higher than it was in March 2020.

Part-time employment also increased in May, by 17,700, to stand at 4,160,000, and is now 30,300 (or 0.7 per cent) above its pre-COVID level.

Female employment rose by 69,400 in May 2021, to a record high of 6,255,000, and is now 97,500 (or 1.6 per cent) above the level recorded in March 2020.

Male employment also rose by 45,800 in May, to a record high of 6,870,200, and is now 32,900 (or 0.5 per cent) above the level recorded in March 2020.The level of unemployment in Australia fell by 53,000 over the month, to 701,100 in May 2021, and is now 22,400 (or 3.1 per cent) below the level recorded in March 2020.

The unemployment rate also declined over the month, by 0.4 percentage points, to 5.1 per cent, and is now 0.2 percentage points below the 5.3 per cent recorded in March 2020.

The participation rate also increased strongly, by 0.3 percentage points in May, to 66.2 per cent in May 2021, and is above the 65.9 per cent recorded in March 2020.

Aggregate hours worked rose by 25.2 million hours (or 1.4 per cent) over the month, and is now 51.6 million hours (or 2.9 per cent) above the level recorded in March 2020.

The underemployment rate decreased from 7.8 per cent in April 2021, to 7.4 per cent in May – the lowest rate recorded since January 2014.

While Australia’s labour market rebound from the pandemic has beaten even the most optimistic of expectations, the Government remains acutely aware that more than 700,000 Australians remain out of work.

This is why the Government’s 2021-22 Budget measures have been designed to cement Australia’s economic recovery and secure our prosperity through initiatives including: a further $15.2 billion in infrastructure investment; additional tax cuts for businesses and individuals; a further $2.7 billion to extend the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements program and; an additional $500 million to expand the JobTrainer Fund.

The Government has put in place a prudent macroeconomic policy framework to ensure that Australia continues to rebound strongly from the COVID-19 induced recession and creates sustainable jobs well into the future.

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