Australia’s labour market remains historically tight at the start of 2024, but there are signs of softening


The unemployment rate was 3.7% in February 2024, dropping slightly from 4.1% in January 2024. Prior to 2022, unemployment had not consistently been under 4.0% since the early 1970s.

The underemployment rate was 6.6% in February 2024. It has risen around half a percent over the last twelve months but remains at low levels not seen since the mid-2000s.

Job vacancies

There were 387,900 vacant jobs in December 2023. While vacancies have declined over the last year, the level remains double that prior to the pandemic. 2.4% of all jobs in Australia are currently vacant.

With 578,000 unemployed people in Australia, there are currently 1.5 unemployed people for each vacant job. Prior to the current labour market cycle, this ratio was around 4.0.

The industries with the highest job vacancy rates include mining (5.0%), utilities (3.3%) and professional, scientific, and technical services (3.3%).

Job turnover

9.5% of the Australian workforce changed their employer in the year to February 2023, unchanged from the year prior. This is the highest job turnover rate since 2012. Job turnover was slightly lower for women (9.4%) than men (9.7%).

Hospitality has the highest job turnover rate in Australia (19.1%), with above average rates for retail, administration, mining, transport and arts & recreation. Job turnover was lower in public-sector dominated industries like healthcare, education and public administration.

Casual employment

The rate of casual employment was 22.5 % in November 2023. Throughout 2023 the rate has been the lowest in over a decade, and despite a marginal increase in recent months remains below its long-term range of 23.5 to 25.5%.  

Casual employment is most common in five industries: accommodation and food, agriculture, arts and recreation, retail trade, and administrative and support. Industrial sectors like construction, manufacturing, mining, wholesale trade and utilities have below-average rates of casualisation.


The data in this factsheet are derived from various ABS labour surveys. Data is collected on a quarterly or annual basis, and is typically released two or three months following the reference period. Ai Group Research & Economics will update this factsheet as new data is released. Refer to notes in the charts for links to the source data.

Ai Group Research & Economics Team

Website: Research and Economics Resource Centre


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