Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures have revealed a sharp rise for the number of workers involved in industrial disputes in the June quarter.

Numbers rose by 365 per cent, quadrupling from the March quarter.

The number of employees involved in industrial disputes in the June quarter was 14,600, an increase of 4000 from March figures.

There were a total of 48 disputes, 24 greater than the March quarter.

Working days lost due to industrial disputation in the June quarter 2018 totalled 12,500 – a decrease from 14,900 in March quarter 2018.

The Construction industry (7,200) had the highest number of working days lost of any industry in June quarter 2018, accounting for 58% of total working days lost. Construction also had the highest number of working days lost per thousand employees (7.7) for the quarter.

Victoria (7,100) had the highest number of working days lost of any state or territory in June quarter 2018, accounting for 57% of total working days lost. Victoria also had the highest number of working days lost per thousand employees (2.4) for the quarter.

Female participation soars as unemployment falls

Female participation in the workforce for the age group of 15 to 64 years hit a record high at 73.2 per cent, according to the latest ABS figures.

The data also showed the trend unemployment rate decreased from 5.4 per cent to 5.3 per cent in the month of August 2018.

ABS Chief Economist Bruce Hockman said that since last August, the trend unemployment and underemployment rates have both fallen.

As a result, underutilisation in Australia was at its lowest level since late 2013, at 13.6 per cent.

Trend employment increased by around 29,000 persons in August 2018 with full-time employment increasing by around 21,000 persons.

Over the past year, trend employment increased by around 300,000 persons or 2.5 per cent, which was above the average year-on-year growth over the past 20 years (2.0 per cent).

The trend monthly hours worked increased by 0.1 per cent in August 2018 and by 1.8 per cent over the past year.

For most states and territories, year-on-year growth in trend employment was at or above their 20 year average, except for Western Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. Over the past year, the states and territories with the strongest annual growth in trend employment were New South Wales (3.6 per cent), the Northern Territory (3.0 per cent) and Victoria (2.5 per cent).