For women, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 3.6%, but remained steady for men at 3.5%.

However, the participation rate for women fell slightly, down 0.1% to 62.3% - while it held firmly at 71% for men.

Overall, the participation rate remained steady at 66.6%, which is consistent with the small changes in employment and unemployment.

The underemployment rate remained at 6.0% in seasonally adjusted terms, while the underutilisation rate – a combination of the unemployment and underemployment rates – saw an increase on August’s figures by 0.1% to 9.6%.

Employment rates increased while hours worked decreased

In September 2022, employment increased by 1,000 people (0.01%), which was less than the percentage increase in the population aged 15 and over (0.08%).

As a result, the employment to population ratio decreased slightly to 64.2%, but remained 1.8% higher than before the pandemic.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said with employment increasing slightly, by around 1,000 people, and the number of unemployed increasing by 9,000, the unemployment rate rose by less than 0.1% but remained at 3.5% in rounded terms.

"It is important to remember that the 1,000 employed people is a net figure – the difference between two large numbers," Mr Jarvis said.

"While employment growth has slowed in recent months, there are still close to half a million people entering employment each month, and around the same number leaving employment each month."

The ABS data also revealed that despite the employment increase, the number of hours worked actually decreased by 0.6 million hours in September - less than 0.1%.

"Some of the slowing in hours worked reflected a higher than usual number of people taking annual leave in September," Mr Jarvis said.

"This follows the past two Septembers when there were lower than usual numbers of people taking leave, given COVID-19 lockdowns and other restrictions.

"The number of people working fewer hours because they were sick was also higher than we usually see in September, but only around 14% higher - it is no longer around two to three times higher, as it was earlier in 2022."

Westpac economists forecasted an unemployment rate of 3.4% for the month of September, while CommBank economists were spot on with their predictions of 3.5%.


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