Employment declined by 2,2%, or 355 000, in the first quarter of 2016. Combined with an increase in the number of unemployed persons of 521 000, this resulted in an unemployment rate of 26,7% – 2,2 percentage points higher compared to that reported in the fourth quarter of 2015.
However, on a year-on-year basis, employment was still higher in the first quarter of 2016, by 204 000, compared to the same period last year.
Employment levels declined quarter-to-quarter in all industries except Community & Social services and Agriculture which grew by 51 000 and 16 000 respectively. The biggest job losses were observed in Trade (119 000), Manufacturing (100 000) and Construction (77 000).
Despite the quarterly increase, employment in Agriculture was lower by 15 000 compared to a year ago. The opposite pattern was observed in Mining, Construction, Trade and Finance & other business services.
While employment declined quarter-to-quarter in these industries, employment levels increased on an annual basis in Mining (30 000), Construction (40 000), Trade (115 000) and by 23 000 in Finance & other business services.
Community & social services grew both quarter-to-quarter and year-on-year while Manufacturing declined on both quarter-to-quarter (100 000) and year-on-year (141 000).
The expanded unemployment rate which includes those who were available to work but did not look for work in the reference period also increased by 2,5 percentage points between the fourth quarter of 2015 and the first quarter of 2016, to 36,3%.