Shockingly Low Unemployment Rate Despite 1.5% Fall in Job Vacancies

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Despite a 1.5% drop in job vacancies, Australia’s unemployment rate has surprisingly remained low.

In Australia, the number of job openings decreased during the three months until February, marking the third consecutive quarter of decline. However, the job vacancies are still considerably higher than pre-pandemic levels, indicating that the labour market is still tight.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data indicating that job vacancies dropped 1.5% to 438,500 in the February quarter compared to the previous quarter.

The number was the lowest in a year but was still 92% higher than in February 2020 before the pandemic.

“Employers across Australia and in all industries are still experiencing a strong demand for labour,” said ABS head of labour statistics, Bjorn Jarvis.

“Vacancies in the Accommodation and food services and Arts and recreation services industries are three to four times higher than before the pandemic. This is the most significant in these industries.”

Since May, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has increased interest rates ten times to 3.60% due to the strong performance of the labour market.

The report says that in February, there was a 1.5% decrease in job openings in the private sector and a 1.4% decrease in the public sector. The public administration had the most job openings, followed by the accommodation and food industry, healthcare, and education.

The unemployment rate has remained steady at 5.6% during the three months until February, but the number of employed people rose by a record 254,400. This is despite the number of people looking for work increasing to 851,000 in February 2021 from 850,000 in November 2020.

This indicates that employers are still trying to fill positions, which could be due to a skills gap or difficult-to-fill roles.

The number of job openings decreased in the February quarter, but the unemployment rate has remained low. This suggests employers are still trying to fill roles despite declining vacancies and that Australia’s labour market is still tight.

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