The number of unemployed persons rose by 7.6 percent or by 10,000 people to 139,000. Over the quarter 3,000 more men and 7,000 more women were unemployed. As a result, the unemployment rate for men increased to 4.8 percent (up 0.1 percentage points) and for women, to 5.7 percent (up 0.5 percentage points).
Employment went up by 0.8 percent or by 19,000 to 2.51 million people. This followed a 1.3 percent increase in employment in the September 2016 quarter. Full-time employment rose 1.6 percent, with an extra 32,000 people being employed full-time. In contrast, part-time employment fell 2.2 percent, down 12,000 people.
The retail trade, accommodation, and food services industry was the largest contributor to employment growth over the latest quarter. This was followed closely by the construction and the professional services industries.
The labour force participation rate increased 0.4 percentage points over the latest quarter, to reach an all-time high of 70.5 percent. The number of people participating in the labour force, at 2.649 million, increased by 1.1 percent (up 29,000 people), with both men and women contributing to this.
Annual wage inflation, as measured by the labour cost index, was 1.6 percent in the December 2016 quarter. Annual wage inflation has been 1.5 to 1.6 percent for the last seven quarters.