National Overview

This image shows that there were 12,694,800 people employed in Australia as at November 2018, up 10.8% since November 2013. Employment is projected to grow by 7.1% over the five years to May 2023.
31% of jobs are regional. 15% of workers are aged 15 to 24 years. 17% of workers are self-employed. 32% of workers hold a bachelor degree or higher. 31% of workers hold a certificate 3 or higher qualification. 5% of workers hold an other qualification. 32% of workers do not hold a post-school qualification.

There are around 12.7 million people employed in Australia. More than two thirds work full-time, almost half are female and around 17% are self-employed. Young workers (aged 15 to 24 years) account for 15% of total employment. More than two thirds of Australian workers hold post-school qualifications. 

Recent labour market developments (to January 2019) 

Labour market conditions have been strong over the year, with the level of employment increasing by 271,300 (or 2.2%), well above the decade annual average rate of 1.7%. The increase in employment over the year was due, predominantly, to a rise in full-time employment, up by 236,100 (or 2.8%) to a record high of 8,743,100 in January 2019, while part-time employment increased by 35,200 (or 0.9%) to 4,008,700. Against the stronger backdrop, the unemployment rate declined from 5.5% in January 2018 to 5.0% in January 2019 (the equal lowest rate recorded since June 2011). The participation rate was steady over the year at 65.7%, the equal highest rate recorded since January 2011. 

Despite the recent strength, some spare capacity remains evident in the labour market, with 1,093,800 underemployed workers (persons who are not fully employed and want, and are available for, more hours of work) in January 2019, equating to an underemployment rate of 8.1% in January 2019. Encouragingly, this is the lowest rate recorded since March 2015 and below the 8.8% recorded in January 2018. Long-term unemployment (LTU) fell by 11,800 (or 6.8 per cent) over the year, to 161,000 in January 2019, but remains well above the trough recorded prior to the onset of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in September 2008. 

Youth labour market 

Labour market conditions for youth (persons aged 15 to 24 years) have improved over the last year, with the level of youth employment increasing solidly, by 39,600 (or 2.1%) to 1,934,300 in January 2019.

Against the stronger background, the youth  unemployment rate has fallen by 0.8 percentage points over the year to 11.5% in January 2019, although it remains well above the 8.7% recorded in September 2008 and more than double the rate recorded or all persons. 

The youth underemployment rate has also declined over the last year, from 18.5% in January 2018 to 17.3% in January 2019, but remains well above the 8.1% recorded for all persons.

Despite these improvements, many young people are continuing to encounter difficulty securing work and are facing longer spells of unemployment. Youth LTU has increased by 400 (or 1.0%) over the year to 45,500 in January 2019, and remains 29,600 (or 186.2%) above the level recorded in September 2008.

Annual employment growth and unemployment rate, Australia (%)

Employment by state and territory

Employment by state and territory
States and Territories Employment Employment Profile Workforce Educational Profile Projected Employment
Employ’t Nov 2018  5 year change
to Nov 2018
Part-time Female Aged 15 to 24 years Aged 55 years or older Bachelor degree or higher Cert III or higher VET qual No post-school qual 5 year change to May 2023
‘000 ‘000 % % % % % % % % %
New South Wales 4,054.6 475.9 13.3 31 47 15 19 36 29 31 7.7
Victoria 3,339.2 458.0 15.9 32 46 15 18 35 31 31 8.3
Queensland 2,491.3 178.2 7.7 31 48 16 19 25 34 36 7.0
South Australia 843.7 45.8 5.7 35 47 15 21 28 31 36 4.5
Western Australia 1,351.9 45.1 3.4 32 46 14 19 31 32 32 5.0
Tasmania 249.5 19.0 8.2 37 48 15 24 24 34 34 4.5
Northern Territory 133.7 1.0 0.8 20 46 13 17 28 35 34 4.4
Australian Capital Territory 228.2 16.6 7.8 27 49 15 16 49 25 23 5.7
Australia1 12,694.8 1,242.5 10.8 32 47 15 19 32 31 32 7.1

1. Some data are trend and, for these, totals do not add

Sources: ABS, Labour Force (trend and annual averages of original data); ABS, Education and Work; Department of Jobs and Small Business, Employment Projections