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Full response from a spokesman for Brendan O'Connor

In relation to this FactCheck on participation in the job market, a spokesman for Brendan O'Connor said:

You’ll see in the screen grab (figure 1), which is sourced from the ABS (Table 1, Participation rate – seasonally adjusted), that the participation rate did indeed fall from 64.9% in July 2016, to 64.7% in August 2016 and then to 64.5% in September.

Table 1, Participation rate – seasonally adjusted. Australian Bureau of Statistics

At no stage under former Labor Government (which managed the GFC) did the participation rate drop to 64.5%. Prior to the Abbott-Turnbull administration, which has overseen a participation rate of 64.5% for 4 separate months the participation rate had not been that low since April 2006 under the Howard Government.

Under Malcolm Turnbull the participation rate has dropped 0.5% in a year. That’s a drastic fall for such a period.

The ABS defines the participation rate as (figure 2) “The labour force participation rate is defined as the labour force (persons employed or unemployed) expressed as a percentage of the population.”

The RBA defines the participation rate as “It measures the share of the working-age population either working or looking for work.”

As such, a lower participation rate indicates the share of the working-age population is lower or have stopped looking for work.

Of course Brendan’s language should be viewed through the lens of a 53,000 fall in FT jobs last month and over 100,000 since the beginning of the year.

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