As discussed in previous Statements, a significant part of the increase in demand for labour has been accommodated by an increase in the participation rate. An additional source of labour supply has been migration. discusses the contribution of these factors to employment growth in recent years.
The unemployment rate was at a generational low of 4.5 per cent in March. This conventionally-measured unemployment rate does not take into account the willingness of employed people to work more hours. An hours-based measure of underemployment, or labour underutilisation, accounts for this by combining the additional hours that both the unemployed and the underemployed would like to work. This broader measure of underemployment is higher than the standard unemployment rate, as usual, though it has followed a similar trend in recent years and has also reached its lowest level in over 25 years, reflecting the tight labour market conditions.