Australians worked an additional one million hours in March, yet the number of employed people slipped backwards.

“Despite the decrease in employment overall, there was a notable lift in full-time employment, a sign that the labour market is becoming more stable,” ACCI chief executive officer Andrew McKellar said.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics noted that the labour market remains tight with the participation rate close to its record high, and employment only slightly off its peak.

“Job vacancies remain high, almost double their pre-COVID levels, with employers continuing their struggle to find people with the right skills for unfilled positions,” Mr McKellar said.

Labour market data released today shows the unemployment rate edging up to 3.8 per cent and the participation rate easing back to 66.6 per cent, while the number of employed people fell 6,600.

Strong growth in full-time employment, up by 27,900, was offset by a fall in part-time employment, down by 34,500.

“This readjustment was expected following the larger than usual increase in employment and sizable fall in unemployment in February,” Mr McKellar said.

Unemployment continues to defy expectations, remaining below 4 per cent.

“Employers are responding to the labour and skill shortages by retaining workers where they can and offering more full-time employment to those with the right skills,” Mr McKellar said.

Ashley Gardiner

Director - Media and Communications

P: 0262708020

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