The unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent, down from a revised 6.8 percent last quarter. The number of people unemployed fell by 15,000 over the quarter.
The employment rate rose to 63.7 percent in the March 2013 quarter, up from 62.7 percent in the December 2012 quarter. There were 38,000 more people employed this quarter – up 1.7 percent. The rise in employment came mainly from full-time employment and was across a range of industries.
This is the first increase in the employment rate since December 2011. However, the employment rate is still down 0.3 percentage points over the year, and well below levels seen before the 2008 and 2009 recession.
The numbers of both men and women employed rose – up 13,000 and 25,000, respectively.
Over the year to March 2013, the number of people employed remained relatively steady, up 7,000 (0.3 percent) to 2,234,000. The number of men employed decreased by 2,000 (down 0.1 percent) and the number of women employed increased by 9,000 (up 0.9 percent).
Full-time employment increased in the March 2013 quarter, up 1.8 percent to reach 1,740,000. Over the year, there were 40,000 more people in full-time employment – up 2.3 percent.
Part-time employment increased by a smaller amount in the quarter – up 1.3 percent to 494,000. However, over the year part-time employment decreased by 6.4 percent.
The number of people not in the labour force decreased in the quarter – down 19,000 people. The fall came from a decrease in the number of women not in the labour force.