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Unemployment rate drops, unexpectedly

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent in March, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

News Staff Reporter 10 April 2014
— 1 minute read

The data shows the number of people unemployed decreased by 29,900 in the month, while the number of people employed increased by 18,100- well above market expectations.

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Although the ABS figures appear positive, AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said the job’s market is not really as strong as the data suggests.

“The details in the report were a bit messy with full time jobs down 22,000, although after an 80,000 gain in February this was to be expected, a fall in the participation rate largely explaining the fall in unemployment and an odd slump in unemployment in WA from 5.9 per cent to 4.9 per cent,” he said.

“Given the messy details along with the monthly volatility in the jobs figures and the tendency for them to go through hot and cold periods it’s probably best to focus on the trend and it is showing monthly jobs growth of around 14,000 and unemployment rising only very slowly”.

Importantly, most forward looking employment indicators are now rising including those for job vacancies and job ads and hiring intentions, as indicated by the NAB Business Survey, according to Mr Oliver.

“Taken together this suggests that the jobs market is gradually improving and that there is some chance that we may have already seen the peak in unemployment. This is all consistent with a gradual improvement in economic growth this year in Australia,” he said.

 

Unemployment rate drops, unexpectedly
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