For the moment, Australia’s unemployment rate has a “4” in front of it. The rate for February, released on Thursday, came in at 4.9%. It’s the first time the rate has begun with a four since the Rudd/Gillard government when it dipped below 5% several times, and since the Howard and Rudd governments in the leadup the global financial crisis when it usually began with a four and at one point dipped to 3.9%.
It’d be good news were it not for another, almost as important, indicator - the underemployment rate.
Workers are underemployed when they are working fewer hours than they want to. They might be working part-time instead of full-time, or part-time for 10 hours a week instead of 20, or full-time at 35 hours instead of 40.