Originally published in The Guardian on February 10, 2022

Australia’s unemployment rate is poised to hit its lowest level in a half-century, and this has been heralded by the current government as an economic triumph. But the unemployment rate depends on many factors (including labour supply, hours of work, and others), and does not by itself assure that the economy is maximising its potential.

In his weekly column for The Guardian Australia, Centre for Future Work Policy Director Greg Jericho unpacks the numbers behind the current unemployment rate, and compares it to the situation in 1974 when unemployment was last below 4%.

The column considers several factors contributing to the current unemployment rate, including:

  • The flattening of labour supply due to border closures during the pandemic.
  • Lower female labour force participation (especially in full-time work).
  • The general growth in part-time work, including for men.

Please see Greg’s full column, “Australia’s 4% unemployment in isolation hides what’s really going on in the labour market,” in The Guardian Australia.

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