Asia and Pacific

Australian Unemployment – Australia no longer as green for Kiwis

Thursday March 06, 2014

In February 2014, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released data on the Australian employment and unemployment for the January 2014 month.


Australia’s employment decreased by 3,700 to 11.46 million in the month of January 2014, following on from  a decrease in the December 2013 month of 23,000.  This January monthly decrease leaves the number of employed in Australia’s labour market at just 1,400 above January 2013.


This decrease in employment has seen Australia’s monthly unemployment rate increase 0.2 percent from December 2013 to 6.0 percent in January 2014.  Australia’s monthly unemployment rate has been climbing since late 2012, but this is the first time since 2003 that Australia’s monthly unemployment rate has reached 6.0 percent.   


Faced with slow growth in the Australia’s labour market and rising unemployment, a growing number of people have been migrating from Australia to New Zealand according to Statistics New Zealand (SNZ), with the bulk of these people made up of Kiwis returning home.


In the December 2013 month 2,600 people moved permanently from Australia to New Zealand, 1,950 of them or 76 percent were New Zealand citizens, while in the year to December 2013, 19,500 people left Australia for New Zealand of which 12,800 or 66 percent were New Zealand citizens.  This indicates that as Australia’s unemployment rate grew throughout 2013, increasing numbers of Kiwis returned home.


Not only has there been increasing numbers of Kiwis returning home throughout 2013, there has also been a significant decrease in the number of Kiwis leaving New Zealand for Australia.  In the year to December 2013 only 39,150 Kiwis left for Australia, down 14,500 on the year to December 2012 or 37 percent.


In the December 2013 month the net loss to Australia was just 600 people, down from average monthly losses of around 3,000.    For the year to December 2013, the net loss was around 19,600, notably down from the net loss of 38,800 seen in the year to December 2012.


If the current trend in the Australian labour market continues we will continue to see lower number of Kiwis leaving for Australia and more return from Australia, though it is highly unlikely even the worsening Australian labour market will see an end to our annual net loss of Kiwis to Australia, seeking greener pastures.