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Employers remain positive about hiring despite Australia’s increasing unemployment

Australia’s unemployment rate rises from 3.9% to 4.1%

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Australian unemployed jobseekers hit 600,000.
The unemployment rate rose from 3.9% to 4.1%.
24% of employers were forecasting an increase in headcount.

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Australian unemployed jobseekers hit 600,000 for the first time since November 2021 as the January 2024 labour market data recently released indicates a major pause in job growth.

The unemployment rate rose from 3.9% to 4.1% – but total employment continued to climb, albeit a modest 7,400 jobs in sharp contrast to the 2023 calendar year average of nearly 38,000 monthly jobs growth.

SEEK’s January Employment Report noted job ads in Australia had risen month-on-month in January by 1.3%. Year-on-year the decline was 17.5%. All states and territories recorded a month-on-month increase except WA (-0.2%) and Tasmania (-0.3%)

Over half of recruiting employers reported difficulty recruiting staff, 4 percentage points higher compared to the previous month

According to the JSA Recruitment Experiences and Outlook Survey of over 1000 employers in January 2024, the employment outlook remains positive.

Just under half (48%) of employers recruited during the month which is 1 percentage point higher than last month and consistent within the range of 46% to 52%, recorded in each month since last April. Over half (55%) of recruiting employers reported difficulty recruiting staff, 4 percentage points higher compared to the previous month although 10 percentage points lower than January 2023.

The survey revealed that 24% of employers were forecasting an increase in headcount in the upcoming three-month period, a jump compared to the corresponding October, November, and December figures of 20%, 21% and 20%, respectively. Only 1% of employers were forecasting a decrease in headcount in the upcoming three-month period, a sharp decline from the corresponding December figure of 5%.

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