Unemployment Rate Drops – 5.8%

By Lainey Quinn - 18 Mar, 2021

No real surprise with the national unemployment rate for February 2021 dropping .05pts to 5.8% according to todays statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The ABS estimates seasonally adjusted rates for February 2021, in particular the participation rate remained at 66.1%, employment increased to 13,006,900 and the employment to population ratio increased to 62.3%. The national rate is now back to the March 2017 range.

Western Australia’s unemployment rate also dropped to 6.0% which was a decrease of 0.2% from the January estimate. Perhaps the surprise in the numbers was that WA has the third highest unemployment rate of all states and territories. South Australia still remains the state with the highest unemployment rate of 6.8% however it also dropped 0.2pts from the previous month. Other key data revealed Western Australia recording an underemployment rate of 8.7% which was an increase of 1.6 pts.


The big winners for February were Queensland and Victoria where the unemployment rate dropped by 0.8pts and 0.7pts respectively. Victoria still has an underemployment rate of 9.1% and recorded no change to its participation rate.


In seasonally adjusted terms, in February 2021:

  • The underemployment rate increased by 0.4 pts to 8.5% (0.1 pts lower than a year ago)
  • The underutilisation rate decreased by 0.1 pts to 14.4%


In seasonally adjusted terms, in February 2021, the participation rate:

  • Remained at 66.1%, and has increased 0.2 pts over the year to February 2021
  • Decreased by 0.2 pts for men (to 71.0%) and increased by 0.3 pts for women (to 61.4%)

Hours worked

In seasonally adjusted terms, in February 2021, monthly hours worked in all jobs :

  • Increased by 102 million hours (6.1%) to 1,767 million hours
  • Increased by 0.2% over the year, which is larger than the less than 0.1% decrease in employed people

Reference: ABS February 2021Labour Fource, Australia release – Headline estimates of employment, unemployment, underemployment, participation and hours worked from the monthly Labour Force Survey

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