Unemployment rate rises to 4.1 per cent in January


The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 4.1 per cent in January, according to new data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said with employment remaining stable and the number of unemployed increasing by 22,000 people, the unemployment rate rose to 4.1 per cent in January.

“This was the first time in two years, since January 2022, that the unemployment rate had been above 4 per cent,” he said.

However, similar to January 2022 and 2023, the increase in the unemployment rate in January 2024 coincided with a higher-than-usual number of people who were not employed but who said they will be starting or returning to work in the future.

“While there were more unemployed people in January, there were also more unemployed people who were expecting to start a job in the next four weeks,” he said.

“This may be an indication of a changing seasonal dynamic within the labour market, around when people start working after the summer holiday period. In January 2022, 2023 and 2024, around five per cent of people who were not employed were attached to a job, compared with around four per cent in the January surveys prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The seasonally adjusted participation rate remained steady at 66.8 per cent and the employment-to-population ratio fell 0.1 percentage point to 64.1 per cent. Both of these rates were still close to their recent historical highs and well above their pre-pandemic levels.