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Jobless rate holds course at 4%: 18,000 jobs added

Jobs: Construction workers and pedestrians crossing a busy street.
The unemployment rate has remained steady at 4 per cent with 18,000 jobs added. (Source: Getty)

Around 18,000 new jobs were added in March, but the unemployment rate remained steady at 4 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

“With employment increasing by 18,000 people and unemployment falling by 12,000, the unemployment rate decreased slightly in March, though remained at 4 per cent in rounded terms,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.

“Four per cent is the lowest the unemployment rate has been in the monthly survey. Lower rates were seen in the series before November 1974, when the survey was quarterly.”

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The unemployment rate continued to fall faster for women than for men.

“The unemployment rate for women fell from 3.8 per cent to 3.7 per cent, the lowest it has been since May 1974,” Jarvis said.

“It remained at 4.2 per cent for men, its second lowest level since November 2008 and just above the rate from December 2021 of 4.1 per cent.”

Young Aussies, aged 15-24, also joined the workforce in impressive numbers in March.

“While young people were particularly impacted early in the pandemic and during the Delta period, we have continued to see strong increases in youth employment over the past year,” Jarvis said.

“The youth employment-to-population ratio in March was the highest it had been since August 2008, at 64.8 per cent, and 4.6 percentage points higher than the start of the pandemic.”

Worker shortage

This comes as job ads were up 38 per cent since last year and more than 50 per cent since 2019.

“Last month, once again, we had the most job ads on site in SEEK’s 25-year history,” SEEK ANZ managing director Kendra Banks said.

“If that sounds familiar, it’s because that has been true every month this year, with January, February and now March each lodging record job ad numbers.

“This makes for an increasingly tight job market and, while interest among candidates remains consistent, as indicated by candidate visits to site staying strong, the low levels of applications per ad, which fell a further 4.5 per cent, are not matching the persistent demand for talent.”

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