The latest labour force figures show the unemployment rate has remained stable despite a big fall in the number of hours worked due to forced isolations and staff shortages.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has revealed the unemployment rate remained at 4.2 per cent over January.
Total hours worked dropped 8.8 per cent, with ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis flagging the Omicron wave had sent a large portion of the workforce into isolation due to infection and impacted the number of staff available.
He noted this was also exacerbated by a significant number of people taking annual leave over the Christmas and New Year period.
"While we again saw higher than usual numbers of people taking annual leave, even more so than last year, the 8.8 per cent fall in hours worked in January 2022 also reflected much higher than usual numbers of people on sick leave," Mr Jarvis said.
"Nationally, and in NSW and Victoria, the number of people who worked reduced hours because they were sick was around three times the pre-pandemic average for January. In other states and territories, it was twice as many people."
Western Australia was the only jurisdiction not impacted heavily by labour shortages.
The number of employed people rose by 13,000, while the underemployment rate stood at 6.7 per cent.
The nation's participation rate increased from 66.1 per cent to 66.2 per cent from the prior month.
Mr Jarvis also flagged the number of people working no hours because of illness was more than four times higher than the pre-pandemic average.
"January is the middle of summer, and usually only around 90,000 to 100,000 people in Australia are away from work sick for an entire week," he said.
"In January 2022 it was around 450,000 people (3.4 per cent of employed people)."
January's sick leave figures were also higher than peak winter months.
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