Jobs rise out of lockdowns
Stats suggest hundreds of thousands of Australians have returned to paid employment after last year's lockdowns.
Australia's unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8 per cent, down from 6.3 per cent, in the past month.
The ABS stats show 88,700 people found jobs in February, pushing the total number of employed Australians above 13 million for the first time in 11 months.
Economists have been surprised by the size of the fall, suggesting the labour market is improving much faster than most expected.
Many were not expecting the unemployment rate to get to 5.8 per cent until the end of the year.
In seasonally adjusted figures, total employment is now just 1,800 below pre-pandemic levels.
“The jobs lost in the early months of the coronavirus pandemic have now been fully replaced,” says Commonwealth Bank economist Kristina Clifton.
The experts say that the next test for the labour market will be the expiry of the JobKeeper program, which runs out at the end of March.
While full-time jobs increased by 89,100, part-time jobs fell by 500 positions.
One sore point in the data is the fact that the underemployment rate - a measurement of those with jobs who would like more hours - increased from 8.1 per cent to 8.5 per cent in February.