After drifting higher for several months, Australia’s unemployment rate has recorded a significant decline.

The national unemployment rate fell from 4.1% in January to 3.7% in February, before ticking up to 3.8% in March, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The state-by-state unemployment rates in March were:

  • ACT = 2.9%
  • Western Australia = 3.4%
  • New South Wales = 3.8%
  • Tasmania = 3.8%
  • Northern Territory = 3.8%
  • South Australia = 3.9%
  • Victoria = 4.1%
  • Queensland = 4.1%

Even though economic growth has fallen in the past four quarters, to just 0.2% in December 2023, companies have been reluctant to shed staff and the labour market has remained extremely tight.

Australian Chamber of Commerce & Industry CEO Andrew McKellar said Australia was suffering from a skills shortage.

“Job vacancies remain at almost double their pre-COVID levels, with employers continuing their struggle to find people with the right skills to fill unfilled positions,” Mr McKellar said.

“The return to work … highlights the continuing need to address skills shortages and ensure that employers have access to employees with the necessary training and experience to fill vacant positions.”

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