There have been concerns about the slowing economy in Australia but experts say that the underlying strength and resilience means the outlook for jobs and growth are there.

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by 0.1% to 5.7% in March 2016 and seasonally adjusted employment exceeded median market expectations, increasing by 26,100 to a record high of 11,909,600, and is up 2% over the year.

The number of unemployed fell by 7,300 in March to 723,100, and is now 42,900 or 5.6% lower than a year ago and the labour force participation rate was steady at 64.9%.


The Minister for Employment, Michaelia Cash, said that the re-balancing of growth away from the mining industry and towards the labour intensive services sector is set to continue, despite the headwinds from slower growth in China and financial market turbulence.

"While ABS labour force figures can be volatile and jump around from month to month, today's data continue to reflect a resilient Australian labour market and highlight the need to continue with the Coalition's plan to strengthen the economy and stimulate further jobs growth," she pointed out.

"Compared with this time last year, all of the major labour force indicators are trending in the right direction. Whether you consider the unemployment rate, youth unemployment, the participation rate, the number of Australians employed, the number of underemployed or aggregate hours worked, every indicator is positive compared with 12 months ago," she explained.

But she warned that significant economic challenges still lie ahead. "The Government is getting on with the job of creating the right policy framework that will facilitate stronger jobs growth, so that all Australians can take advantage of the emerging job opportunities of tomorrow," she added.

Bruce Hockman, general manager of the ABS macroeconomic statistics division, explained that the trend employment to population ratio remained at 61.3% which reflects an increase over the year from 60.7% while over the same period the unemployment rate decreased from 6.2% to 5.8%.

Over the past month, trend employment increased by 11,400 persons to 11,903,100 persons, which equated to a monthly growth rate of 0.10% and this monthly growth rate was below the monthly average over the past 20 years which is 0.15% and down from the rate of 0.26% recorded in September 2015.

"The trend underutilisation rate, which is a quarterly measure that includes both unemployment and underemployment decreased by 0.1% to 14.2%. This decrease was observed for both males and females, predominantly reflecting decreased unemployment for males and decreased underemployment for females," Hockman said.

The figures also show that the Australian economy grew by 0.6% in the final quarter of 2015. Some industries saw significant growth including information, media and telecommunications up 2.7%, retail trade u 1%, rental, hiring and real estate up 2.8% and wholesale trade up 1.6%.

In February 2016, the annual trend employment growth rate was 2.3%, an increase of around 270,000 persons employed.