New jobs and unemployed workers rise in April




The number of new jobs and the number of unemployed workers rose in April, as the labour market seemingly moved to the cusp of a major change.

The April jobs report suggests the labour market is still tight. There were more workers looking for jobs last month, so the number of jobless rose, which suggests that people remain confident about getting a gig somewhere—increasingly though, it's been part-time in recent months.

Hours worked were steady over the month because of a drop in full-time jobs and a big rise in part-time employment, which is a positive at the moment.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported the unemployment rate lifted by 0.2 percentage points last month. The jobless rate was 4.1% in April, up from a revised (down) 3.9% for March (originally 3.8%).

The ABS said participation rose in April as more people were looking for work. Thirty-one thousand new jobs were created after the loss of around 6,000 in March.

But with 30,000 extra people registering as unemployed last month, it means around 50,000 extra people are now on the jobless rolls in March (around 21,000) and April—a big hint that there could be a downturn in the health of the labour market.

But since the end of 2023, jobless numbers are only up around 26,000 while there has been a 262,000 jump in new jobs. This was attributed to many people taking time away from work before re-entering the jobs market.

Financial markets had been expecting an increase of around 0.1 percentage point, but the higher participation rate saw a bigger than expected rise.

"The 30,000 people increase in unemployment reflected more people without jobs available and looking for work, and also more people than usual indicating that they had a job that they were waiting to start in."

The ABS said the increases in both employment and unemployment in April saw the participation rate up by 0.1 percentage point to 66.7 percent in April. It has been relatively high, above 66.5 percent, for more than a year and is significantly higher than the 65.6% level at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

"The employment-to-population ratio remained steady at 64.0% in April, indicating that recent employment growth is broadly keeping pace with population growth. This suggests that the labour market remains tight, though less tight than late 2022 and early 2023," Mr. Jarvis said.

Seasonally adjusted monthly hours worked remained steady between March and April.

"The seasonal change in hours worked in April 2024 was similar to the normal pattern we usually see around the Easter holidays."

New part-time jobs exceeded new full-time jobs for another month in April. The ABS said, in fact, full-time jobs fell by 6,100 to 9,845 million, while part-time employment increased by 44,600 to 4,455 million. That's 78,000 new part-time jobs in two months.

Hours worked were steady, probably because of the fall in full-time work, which was offset by the part-time hours of more than 44,000 workers.


Name Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.