Jobs rate looks rough, could hit retail twice
Australia's overall jobless rate has stabilised but worrying trends are emerging in youth employment.
Youth unemployment is at a 12-year high and increasing numbers of part-time workers say they do not get enough hours.
At the same time, overall workforce participation is down again and expected to continue declining, as more baby boomers retire.
Around 22,000 Australians found full-time jobs last month while around 27,000 part-time workers lost theirs.
The unemployment rate has lingered at 5.8 per cent for three months, down slightly from its ten-year high of 6 per cent earlier this year.
Westpac economist Justin Smirk has told the ABC he does not see great things ahead for youth unemployment.
“We are scratching our heads a little bit, but it is quite interesting that this decline in participation is a little bit more structural and ongoing than we first thought,” he said.
“If you just look purely at how the numbers are flowing through, you can quite quickly work out it's sort of explaining about 0.2 percentage points of the fall per year.
“But we've seen a much greater fall than that, so there are other factors going on as well.
“Under the weak labour market, the rate of people leaving the labour force for retirement is greater than just what the ageing is.
“You know, more people are choosing to leave,” he said.
With the employment to population ratio in a steep decline too, the share of the population actually working and earning an income is declining faster than most anticipated.
Most insiders expect to see more conservatism in spending patterns, with rising youth unemployment keeping major consumers out.
Warnings have been sounded, highlighting the fact that retailers hire a large proportion of young workers, and a downturn in the retail sector could therefore exacerbate the youth unemployment rate.