Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.4 per cent across the month of January, with more than 29,000 Aussies heading back to work that month, new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed.
In total, 12.9 million Australians are now employed, with the nation continuing to rebound from the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It marks the fourth consecutive monthly rise in employment, after the unemployment rate dropped to 6.6 per cent in December last year.
The underemployment rate also decreased from 8.5 per cent in December to 8.1 per cent in January. It’s now 0.7 percentage points lower than it was in March 2020, and reflected a drop in the number of part-time workers who wanted more hours.
The youth unemployment rate remained unchanged at 13.9 per cent.
ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said employment was now only 59,000 people lower than employment in March.
However, hours work declined by 4.9 per cent, given the holiday period.
“After a tough 2020, more Australians than usual took leave in the first two weeks of January, particularly full-time workers,” Mr Jarvis said.
“This fall in hours worked is different to the falls across April and May 2020, which resulted from the restrictions in the labour market, rather than people taking leave.
“However, the number of employed people who worked zero hours in early January in the capital cities also reflects some ongoing effects of recent lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne.”