ABS update: hours worked were stable before COVID-19 restrictions


The ABS confirmed that between February and March 2020, the trend monthly hours worked did not change. Early March also showed that the trend unemployment rate remained steady at 5.2%.

This data describes the first two weeks of March, before the major COVID-19 restrictions came into place. This demonstrates that the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian labour market was minor in early March, however, April data will more accurately display the impact from major COVID-19 related restrictions.

Trend employment over the past year had increased by 1.8% – approximately 224,000 people. This was below the annual growth of 2% over the past 20 years. In March 2020, the trend monthly employment increased by approximately 17,000 people, while the trend monthly underemployment rate increased by 0.1% to reach 8.7%. This is a 0.4% increase over the past year.


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