Release type: Media Release


ABS labour force figures for December


Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

The labour force figures released today by the ABS show that the Australian labour market continued to recover at the end of 2020, with employment increasing by 50,000 in December. 

Encouragingly, full-time jobs increased by 35,700 in December, meaning almost 120,000 full-time jobs have come back over November and December accounting for the majority of employment growth over this period.

Significantly, women accounted for the vast majority of the rise in employment in December, with female employment increasing by 45,800 (or 0.8 per cent), while male employment also rose, by 4,300 (or 0.1 per cent).

It is also encouraging that full-time jobs for women rose strongly over the month, up by 39,900 (or 1.2 per cent).

Importantly, while employment fell by 872,100 between March and May, it has since increased by 784,500 over the last seven months, recovering almost 90 per cent of the jobs lost so far during the pandemic.

The level of unemployment in Australia fell by 30,100 (or 3.2 per cent) to 912,000 in December. The unemployment rate also decreased in December, by 0.2 percentage points, to 6.6 per cent, but is well above the 5.2 per cent recorded in March.

The participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage points over the month, to a record high of 66.2 per cent in December 2020 and is above the 65.9 per cent recorded in March 2020.

The female participation rate, at 61.4 per cent in December 2020, also remains close to the record high, of 61.5 per cent in January 2020.

Significantly, the underemployment rate fell by 0.8 percentage points over the month, to 8.5 per cent in December 2020 and is now below its pre-COVID rate, of 8.8 per cent in March 2020. There are now 25,900 (or 2.1 per cent) fewer underemployed people than there were in March 2020.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said the Government remains acutely aware that the economic and labour market fallout from COVID-19 will continue for some time to come.

“That is why the Morrison Government has committed an unprecedented $507 billion in economic support, to help rebuild the economy and put Australia back on the road to recovery,” Minister Cash said.

“This includes $257 billion in direct economic support including more than $101 billion in JobKeeper payments to help cushion the impact of COVID-19 which has led to the most severe global economic crisis since the Great Depression.

“This is the single largest economic support measure that any Australian Government has introduced, which will help mitigate the difficulties that businesses and employees are encountering as a result of COVID-19.”

The Morrison Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, has been described by the OECD as key to saving jobs and will also continue to help boost Australia’s economic recovery, create further employment opportunities and help to secure this country’s economic future.