Population Soars, Unemployment Drops

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The latest data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that Australia’s population grew by 1.9 percent in 2022, reaching a total of 26.3 million people.
This increase of 496,800 individuals represents the highest growth rate since 2008. The rise in population can be attributed to overseas migration, with 619,600 arrivals and 232,600 departures. Net overseas migration accounted for a population growth of 387,000 people.
According to Beidar Cho, head of Demography at ABS, the recovery of international student arrivals has contributed to the surge in net overseas migration.
As international borders gradually reopen, more students are expected to return, further boosting migration numbers. However, departures have remained relatively low due to the limited number of students arriving during the pandemic.
In terms of natural increase, there was a decrease of 23.4 percent compared to the previous year, with 109,800 more births than deaths. The number of births decreased by 4.6 percent, while deaths increased by 11.1 percent. The impact of COVID-19 on mortality rates played a significant role in the lower natural increase observed in 2022.
In other news, Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent in May, a 0.1 percentage point decrease from the previous month. The ABS reported an increase of around 76,000 employed individuals and a decrease of 17,000 unemployed individuals, resulting in the lowest unemployment rate in recent times.
Bjorn Jarvis, head of labor statistics at ABS, noted that the growth in employment during May compensated for a slight decrease observed in April. Over the past two months, the average monthly employment increase has been around 36,000, contributing to a milestone achievement of 14 million employed individuals in Australia.
The employment-to-population ratio also rose by 0.2 percentage points to reach a record high of 64.5 percent. This indicates a higher share of the population being employed compared to pre-pandemic levels. Additionally, the participation rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 66.9 percent, with women achieving record-high employment and participation rates.
Despite a 1.8 percent decrease in monthly hours worked, the strength of hours worked relative to employment growth suggests a robust demand for labor. The proportion of employed individuals working reduced hours was slightly higher than the pre-pandemic average but lower than during the Omicron period.
The underemployment rate rose to 6.4 percent, while the underutilization rate, which combines unemployment and underemployment, reached 10.0 percent. Despite these increases, both rates remain lower than before the pandemic.
Analyzing the underlying trend data, the monthly increase in trend employment outperformed the pre-pandemic average, reflecting strong growth in both employment and hours worked. The unemployment rate remained steady at 3.5 percent, and the underemployment rate rose slightly to 6.3 per cent.
These indicators collectively point to a continuing tight labor market, with notable growth in hours worked and consistently low unemployment and underemployment rates.
The ABS extends its gratitude to Australians for their ongoing support in responding to surveys, providing valuable data for these analyses.
For more detailed information, including regional labor market insights, the May 2023 issue of Labour Force, Australia, Detailed, will be released on June 22.

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