There are now record numbers of men and women working full-time with a surge in full-time jobs, which rose by 92,400 in April.
Meanwhile, part-time jobs fell by 88,400, bringing the share of part-time employment to 30.3%, down 1.5 percentage points from March 2020.
The overall unemployment figure was helped by a 0.1 percentage point drop in the participation rate, while the number of unemployed Australians, at 551,300, is at its lowest level since December 2008.
KPMG’s senior economist, Dr Sarah Hunter, said the data showed the economy “was now operating efficiently with no spare capacity”.
And although job vacancies remain at record highs, ABS figures show employment rose by just 4,000 in April, well below market expectations of 30,000.
Underemployment eased in April, falling 0.2 percentage point to 6.1%, and seasonally adjusted working hours rose 1.3%, driven by a rebound in New Wales South and Queensland after the floods in March. Underutilization, or the combined figures of underemployment and unemployment, also fell, dropping 0.3 percentage points to 10%.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the data showed there were enough ingredients for stronger wage growth.
ABS data on Wednesday showed Australians were experiencing a 2.7% gap – the largest on record – between wage growth and inflation.
“The tight labor market evident in the fall of unemployment to its lowest since 1974 and labor slack to its lowest since 2008 points to an acceleration in wage growth ahead,” he said. he declared.
Some states and territories were arguably already at “full employment,” said CommSec chief economist Craig James.
“More and more companies are lamenting the lack of qualified candidates to fill vacancies,” James said. “So, with a labor market tight as a drum, pushing up wages and prices, the first task of the new government will be to focus on measures to boost the supply of workers.”
Andrew McKellar, chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the next government needed to keep people in the workforce and boost participation, by removing barriers that were preventing people, including older pensioners and parents, to contribute fully to the economy.
“For our economy to operate at full capacity, an ambitious plan to address the labor and skills shortages facing businesses is absolutely imperative,” he said.
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