Australiaâ€™s jobless rate sank to a new 13-year low last month with a big rise in full-time positions, as the economy shrugged off more of the Omicron Covid disruptions.
The countryâ€™s unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 4.0% in February, compared with 4.2% in January. Thatâ€™s the lowest rate since August 2008, the ABS said.
The jobless rate for women fell to 3.8%, or the lowest since May 1974. For men, the unemployment rate was 4.2%, or a shade above the 4.1% recorded last December.
The economy added a net 77,400 jobs last month, with full-time work rising by more than 4,000 per day, or 121,9oo for February. Part-time jobs shrank by 44,500.
More people were looking for work too, with the participation rate increasing by 0.2 percentage points to 66.4%, or the highest on record. Hours worked increased by 149m, although remained below the pre-Delta period high of May 2021.
Employment increased for the fourth month in a row, by around 77,000 people (0.6 per cent) in February, and was around 202,000 people (1.5%) higher than the pre-Delta high of June 2021.
Seasonally adjusted hours worked jumped 8.9% las month, making up for an 8.6% drop in January when the Omicron variant caused many people to report in sick or as a close contact.
â€œWhile hours worked rebounded in February, they were still around 0.5% below December, and also still slightly below (0.2%) the pre-Delta period high of May 2021, reflecting a second month of impacts associated with the Omicron variant,â€ Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said in a statement.
The Reserve Bank has predicted the jobless rate will fall below 4% this year to the lowest since the mid-1970s. The current ABS month survey dates from 1978, and Februaryâ€™s 4.0% rate has only been matched twice previously, in February and August 2008.
â€œLower unemployment rates occurred in the series before November 1974, when the survey was quarterly,â€ the ABS said.
More to come.