CreditorWatch Economic Snapshot
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Harley’s Economic Update

Chief Economist Harley Dale


The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) stats on Australia’s Labour Force for January 2022 has revealed:

  • The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.2%.
  • The number of people employed increased by 12,900 to 13,255,000.
  • The underemployment rate increased to 6.7%.
  • Monthly hours worked decreased by 159 million hours.


CreditorWatch Chief Economist Harley Dale says:

“The shining economic light last year and throughout the Omicron challenge has been the performance of Australia’s labour market and this strength has been reinforced today in January’s ABS Labour Force Report.


“The number of Australians employed increased by 12,900 in January 2022. The annual rate of change is 2.8 per cent – historically very high. The unemployment rate ‘sat sitting’ at 4.2 per cent – historically very low. This result represents a very positive economic update, but the devil in the detail will be when the ABS releases the industry labour force data next week.


“The CreditorWatch Business Risk Index (BRI) for January revealed a number of sectors still at considerable credit risk, including Construction and the Accommodation and Food Services. These are big employers. CreditorWatch data is however suggesting a normalisation of credit conditions emerging in 2022 as financial institutions and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) treat businesses in a non-subsidised environment. That will see businesses fall as others survive and even thrive. 


“That dynamic has a link to labour force outcomes in coming months. If labour force data can remain resilient and strong then that is a great sign for the Australian economy in 2022. If the encroaching return to ‘normality’ for hundreds of thousands of businesses gathers pace, then labour force updates may falter.”

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