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Full-time shrinks as unemployment falls

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016 Marty Silk

Full-time job creation almost stalled in the past year.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.7 per cent in July, the lowest level in three years, due to 71,600 new part-time jobs.

There were 45,400 fewer full-time jobs in July, taking the total number of full-time positions created in the year to July to just 29,800, a rise of just 0.4 per cent, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The number of part-time jobs created in the same period was 190,100, a 5.2 per cent rise.

The figures are a stark reflection of the economy's transition from mining and resources to services industries, Westpac senior economist Justin Smirk said.

"The economy had added almost no full-time employees in the last year as most new positions were part time roles," he said.

"Given that full-time employment represents just under 70 per cent of total employment, this really highlights the significant structural shift the Australian economy is experiencing as well as some of the challenges facing Australian households."

St George economists said total jobs growth of 26,200 in July was encouraging, but the surge in part-time work suggests a higher level of under-employment - the number of employees who want to work more hours.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash welcomed the jobs numbers, and said part time work suited many people, including students, carers, those planning for retirement and workers seeking a greater work-life balance.

"Employers also have a choice, they can either employ people or not. I am pleased to see that employers are still putting up their hands and saying 'we want to create jobs, we want to employ people, even if it is on a part-time basis'," Senator Cash said.

The participation rate, which refers to the number of people either employed or actively looking for work, was steady in July at 64.9 per cent.

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