Unemployment falls as job opportunities surge

Chef working in commercial kitchen, considering job opportunities post-JobKeeper as employment market booms.

The unemployment rate in Australia has seen another month-on-month decrease, falling 2 basis points to 5.6% in March according to the most recent Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force data

This represents an additional 70,700 people gaining employment last month, which more than doubled many projections. 

However, the ABS reporting period fell before the end of the JobKeeper COVID wage subsidy on 28 March. With this in mind, the Bureau anticipates some job losses in the next two months.

It is also important to note the March gains have largely been in part-time work. Full-time employment actually decreased by 20,800 people, while part-time jobs rose by 91,500. 

RELATED: Domestic holidays boost economy by more than $7 billion.

More jobs with competition at bay: Is it too good to be true?

Major employment marketplace SEEK has seen significant growth in job ads in 2021. 

In its latest employment report, the platform noted a record monthly increase of 10.3% in new advertisements from February to March, as well as yearly growth of 75%.

“In mid-March 2020, we saw COVID have a swift and extreme impact on the labour market – 12 months on and we have seen the highest number of job ads posted on SEEK in a month than at any time in our more than 23-year history,” SEEK managing director Kendra Banks said.

Interestingly, she also noted applications per-ad had dropped by 14% compared to February 2020.

“There are likely many reasons contributing to this decline such as: a reduced labour supply impacting the ability to fill roles, workers displaying a more cautious approach to career moves following a turbulent year, and with more jobs available, there is a knock-on effect to the number of applications per job ad posted,” Banks said.

While this sounds like a prime market for job hunters, those looking for the ideal position should prepare themselves and their resumes for the coming months. 

The participation rate of people in or actively seeking employment has risen to a record high of 66.3%, according to the ABS. As workers reliant on the JobKeeper subsidy brace themselves for reduced hours or of loss of work, these factors could converge and result in more people vying for prized roles, especially in decreasing full-time employment opportunities.

Hear more about the industries leading these job ads in the latest episode of The Finance Burrito podcastTaking a bite out of Apple Music and unemployment.

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