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1,000 jobs added: Unemployment at 3.5%

Jobs: Construction workers. and pedestrians crossing a busy street.
The jobless rate remained steady at 3.5 per cent in September. (Source: Getty)

Australia added a small 1,000 jobs in September, keeping the unemployment rate steady at 3.5 per cent.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) there are still hundreds of thousands of people entering the workforce, so the 1,000 is not as small as it seems.

“It is important to remember that the 1,000 employed people is a net figure – the difference between two large numbers,” head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

“While employment growth has slowed in recent months, there are still close to half a million people entering employment each month, and around the same number leaving employment each month.”

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Aussies also worked slightly less hours in September - down by around 0.1 per cent.

“Some of the slowing in hours worked reflected a higher than usual number of people taking annual leave in September,” Jarvis said.

“This follows the past two Septembers when there were lower-than-usual numbers of people taking leave, given COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions.

“The number of people working fewer hours because they were sick was also higher than we usually see in September, but only around 14 per cent higher. It is no longer around two to three times higher, as it was earlier in 2022.”

What it means for you

Lower unemployment means there is a higher demand for workers, which should push wages up as employers look to attract staff.

The most recent wage data from the ABS found wages rose 2.6 per cent for the year to June, but inflation (up 7 per cent) still far outweighed wages.

According to SEEK’s Advertised Salary Index, advertised salaries grew 0.3 per cent compared to last month.

However, despite the small monthly change, salaries are 3.7 per cent higher than they were last year (down from 3.9 per cent in August).

SEEK economist Matt Cowgill said it was good to see salaries were still rising, albeit slowly.

“Advertised salaries are still growing at a decent pace, but they’re no longer racing ahead like they were earlier this year,” Cowgill said.

“The moderation in advertised salary growth is a good sign for inflation. We’re not seeing wages and inflation spiralling.

“Workers will be less comforted, with advertised salary growth lagging the cost of living.”

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