Finance Finance News Jobless rate drops to 6.1%

Jobless rate drops to 6.1%

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The number of people in jobs has skyrocketed with the biggest gain in 23 years.

The total number of people with jobs rose a whopping 121,000 to 11.704 million in August, official figures on Thursday show.

The unemployment rate fell to 6.1 per cent in August from 6.4 per cent in July.

The Australian dollar rose half a US cent after the release, and was worth 92.08 US cents at 11:34 AEST, up from 91.62 US cents just before the data was released at 11:30 AEST.

The figures far exceeded economists’ expectations and suggested July’s jobless rate was likely an aberration.

The unemployment rate was expected to fall to 6.3 per cent in August, with 10,000 jobs added to the economy, according to an AAP survey of 11 economists.

Although the unemployment rate had dropped significantly, it was still higher than levels seen earlier in the year, suggesting the labour market remained soft, JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said.

“It still does add to the theme that the labour market has softened a bit which is consistent with the idea of sub-trend growth and pretty challenging domestic conditions,” Mr Kennedy said.

“One month doesn’t make a trend and you’ve really got to look at what’s been happening over the past few months.”
Mr Kennedy said the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures were encouraging but looked a little bit too good to be true.

“The ABS has gone to great lengths to put to bed that their methodology is fine but it still looks like there are a few funny things going on there,” Mr Kennedy said.

Full-time employment rose 14,300 to 8.094 million in August and part-time employment was up 106,700 to 3.609 million.

The participation rate – those that have a job, are looking for work or are ready to start work – rose to 65.2 per cent, from 64.8 per cent in July.

State by state unemployment rates

NSW – 5.7% down from 5.9% in July
• Vic – 6.8% down from 7.0%
• Qld – 6.7% down from 6.8%
 SA – 5.9% down from 7.2%
• WA – 5.0% down from 5.2%
• Tas – 7.1% down from 7.6%
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (seasonally adjusted)

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