NT News

Lowest jobless rate in nation


WHILE lockdowns across the nation have left thousands out of work, the Northern Territory’s unemployme­nt rate has dropped to 3.4 per cent, the lowest in Australia.

The Territory added more than 600 new jobs in the month of August, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

It brings the rate of employment to population ratio in the Territory to 68.3 per cent – the highest in the nation – with the ACT sitting just behind with 67.6 per cent of its population employed. The data also shows the Territory has the lowest underemplo­yment rate, with 6.7 per cent of Territoria­ns reporting they are not getting as many hours as they’d like.

Overall, the employment rate in Australia fell by 1.1 per cent in the first two weeks of August, meaning 146,000 people gained employment.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the data, which covered a period in which NSW, Victoria, Queensland, and the ACT were in lockdowns, did not suggest the labour market was strengthen­ing. “The fall in the unemployme­nt rate reflects a large fall in participat­ion during the recent lockdowns, rather than a strengthen­ing in labour market conditions,” he said.

The national participat­ion rate fell by 0.8 percentage points to 65.2 per cent, following a 0.2 percentage point fall in July. “Throughout the pandemic we have seen large falls in participat­ion during lockdowns – a pattern repeated over the past few months,” Mr Jarvis said. “Beyond people losing their jobs, we have seen unemployed people drop out of the labour force, given how difficult it is to actively look for work and be available for work during lockdowns. This has also coincided with a temporary pause in mutual obligation­s for jobseekers living in lockdown areas.”

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