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Tassie’s population growth hits 8½-year highRecord older Aussies workingPopulation; Employment by Industry; Detailed employment data
Population: Australia’s population expanded by 380,722 people over the year to March 2018 to 24,899,077 people. Overall, Australia’s annual population growth rate fell from a downwardly-revised 1.58 per cent (previously 1.59 per cent) in December 2017 to 1.55 per cent in March 2018.
Tassie on a tear: Tasmania’s annual population growth rate rose from 0.96 per cent in December 2017 to 1.02 per cent in March 2018 – the strongest growth rate in 8½-years.
Employment by industry: Employment rose by 103,600 in the three months to August after a gain of 65,300 in the previous three months. Over the past 12 months, 301,200 people have found jobs, down from 318,100 in the 12 months to May. A record 12.66 million Aussies are employed.
Biggest job gainers: Over the quarter, employment rose most in Public Administration and Safety (up 42,000), Transport, Postal and Warehousing (up 31,000), Manufacturing (up 20,700) and Construction (up 17,500). Healthcare and Social Assistance remains Australia’s leading employer, employing 1.7 million people or 13.3 per cent of all jobs. Retail Trade is in second place with 1.3 million employees.
More Baby Boomers are working: In the year to August, 58.3 per cent of those aged 60-64 years and a record-high 14.1 per cent of those aged 65 years and over were in the job market. 
What does it all mean?
There was a lot of fanfare in the lead-up to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ population clock ticking over 25 million people on August 7. And the Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe recently backed Australia’s elevated population growth as a key reason for our economic prosperity. He said, “…with Australia’s faster population growth being one of the reasons our economy has experienced higher average growth than many other advanced economies….People living in Australia who were born overseas are more likely than the average Australian to have a post-secondary school qualification.”
Australia’s annual population growth rate remained elevated at 1.55 per cent in March 2018, but it’s the slowest pace in two years. Net overseas migration slowed to 236,786 over the year to March – the lowest intake in 18 months -accounting for 62 per cent of total population growth. In terms of natural increase, annual deaths are the highest on record at 163,220 people. And births rose to 307,156 people in March, up from 304,200 in December. 
Once again, Tassie stands-out in another key statistic. While population growth remains strongest in Victoria (up 2.18 per cent) and the ACT (up 2.08 per cent), people additions in the Apple Isle grew by 1.02 per cent over the year to March – the strongest pace since September 2009. And Queensland continues to be a beneficiary of net interstate migration with its population growth lifting to 1.70 per cent in March, up from 1.65 per cent in December. But annual population growth in the Northern Territory is the lowest in three years at just 0.12 per cent.
Jobs growth in Australia is very healthy. Where are the jobs being created? Public Administration & Safety; Transport Postal & Warehousing; Manufacturing; and Construction were the job ‘hot spots’ in the three months to August.
And there is no stopping older Aussies. There are more people aged 60-64 years that are currently working than those not working. The participation in the workforce of those aged over 65 years is at record highs. Senior Aussies are continuing to work due to improved health, technology, more jobs in the services sector, a need to boost superannuation savings and a rise in flexible work options.
What do the figures show?Population Statistics
Australia’s population expanded by 380,722 people over the year to March 2018 to 24,899,077 people. Overall, Australia’s annual population growth rate fell from a downwardly-revised 1.58 per cent (previously 1.59 per cent) in December 2017 to 1.55 per cent in March 2018.
Over the past year population growth was strongest in Victoria (2.18 per cent), followed by the ACT (2.08 per cent), Queensland (1.70 per cent), NSW (1.44 per cent), Tasmania (1.02 per cent), Western Australia (0.82 per cent), South Australia (0.67 per cent) and the Northern Territory (0.12 per cent).
Tasmania’s population growth rate at 1.02 per cent is the highest since December 2009.
Australia’s population grew by 125,119 people over the March quarter, after growing by 68,731 people in the December quarter.
A total of 236,786 people migrated to Australia over year to March, down from 240,421 people in the year to December. Migration growth is down from the peak of 315,700 migrants in the year to December 2008.
Net migration rose by 85,355 in the March quarter, but annual migration over the year to March 2018 fell by 23,000 people, the slowest growth rate in three years.
There were 307,156 babies born in the year to March – lower than the record growth of 312,200 babies born in the year to March 2013 – and down by 4,700 births from the year to March 2017.
There were 163,220 deaths in the past year, up by 3,900 deaths from the year to March 2017.
Natural increase for the year ended 31 March 2018 was 143,936 people, down by 4.3 per centor 6,400 people from the year to March 2017.
Industry Employment
Employment rose by 103,600 in the three months to August after a gain of 65,300 in the previous three months.
Over the past 12 months, 301,200 people have found jobs, down from 318,100 in the 12 months to May. A record 12.66 million Aussies are employed.
Over the three months to August, employment rose most in Public Administration & Safety (up 42,000), Transport, Postal & Warehousing (up 31,000), Manufacturing (up 20,700) and Construction (up 17,500).
In the three months to August, the number of jobs fell by the most in Administrative & Support Services (down 26,500), Accommodation & Food Services (down 22,600) and Retail Trade (down 12,200).
Over the year to August, 12 out of 19 sectors added jobs. The strongest gains were in Manufacturing (up 86,500), Public Administration & Safety (up 86,000), Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (up 65,400) and Mining (up 32,800).
The sectors that shed the most jobs over the past year including Other Services (down 19,600), Accommodation & Food Services (down 12,900), Retail Trade (down 9,600) and Wholesale Trade (down 9,400).
Health Care and Social Assistance remains the biggest employer with 1.7 million employees (13.3 per cent of the total) followed by Retail Trade (1.3 million jobs or 10.0 per cent), Construction (1.2 million or 9.4 per cent) and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services (1.1 million or 8.5 per cent).
Detailed Employment
In the year to August, 58.3 per cent of those aged 60-64 years – near record highs. And a record-high 14.1 per cent of those aged 65 years and over were in the job market.
At the same time that the participation of seniors are reaching new highs, younger Aussies are looking for work. But participation in the workforce of those between 15-19 years fell to 9-month lows of 53.6 per cent (year to August 2018). Workforce participation of those 20-24 years rose fell to 77.1 per cent in August, down from 78.0 per cent in July.
A greater proportion of young married women are also in work. In the year to August, an average of 75.9 per cent of married women aged 25-34 years were in the workforce – just below record highs.
In the year to August, the average weekly actual hours worked per person employed was 33.2 hours, up from a near record-low 31.8 hours in July. On average, people are working 1.3 hours a week less than they were a decade ago.
Why is the data important?
Demographic Statistics are issued by the Bureau of Statistics each quarter. The figures include estimates of births, deaths, in-bound and out-bound migration movements and estimates of population change by State.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) provides detailed labour market figures one week after releasing ‘top level’ statistics of employment & unemployment levels across states and territories. The detailed data is useful in identifying broader underlying trends and instructive about the health of the economy.
What are the implications?
The job market should continue to gain momentum over the coming year. Business conditions are near decade highs and indicators of job vacancies and advertisements are at the highest levels for around six years.
There is still spare capacity in the labour market, but it is slowly being whittled away. Wages should gradually lift  September 20 2018 4 Economic Insights: Tassie’s population growth hit over the year amid emerging skills shortages in some industries – especially information technology and communication, mining engineering, construction and healthcare.
Australia’s population is growing, albeit a little lower than previously. Migrants to Australia make a significant contribution both culturally, but also in the workforce. Skills shortages can be plugged in some industries. Migrants living in Australia, but born overseas “are more likely than the average Australian to have a postsecondary school qualification”, according to Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe.
And with around 580,000 international students currently studying in Australia, the potential boost to the nation’s human capital is enormous. International students account for around 70 per cent of overall net migration.
Rising numbers of Aussies adds to demand for a raft of businesses across a range of industry sectors. The lift in the growth of the population – and the physical population numbers – increase demand for roads, schools and hospitals, thus boosting the outlook for builders, building material companies and construction companies.
Heightened pressure on infrastructure, housing and transport from rapid population growth is being addressed by governments around the country. It is hoped that increased infrastructure building and new public transport projects will eventually alleviate productivity-sapping bottlenecks in the big cities for workers.
CommSec expects official interest rates to remain unchanged until late 2019.
Published by Ryan Felsman, Senior Economist, CommSec