Australia: Labor market reports soft outturn in March, revised data shows employment shrank in February
Seasonally-adjusted employment increased by 4,900 in March compared to the prior month, contrasting the revised 6,300 jobs shed in February (previously reported: +17,500 jobs) but wildly undershooting analysts’ expectations of stronger job growth. March’s reading was driven by more part-time workers, which more than offset a decline in the number of full-time workers.
The seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate remained at 5.5% in March, while the trend participation rate ticked up to 65.7%–an all-time high. Measures of underemployment and labor underutilization remained fairly elevated, which suggests ongoing slack in the labor market and is likely partly behind stubbornly low wage growth.