Finance Finance News Unemployment steady at 5.7 per cent in May
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Unemployment steady at 5.7 per cent in May

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Part-time work as a proportion of total employment has increased again. Photo: AAP
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Australia’s unemployment rate was steady at 5.7 per cent in May, official figures show, which was better than market expectations.

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The total number of people with jobs rose by 17,900 in the month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday, which was better than expectations.

Full-time employment was steady, with the growth in employment coming entirely in part-time jobs.

The participation rate, which refers to the number of people either employed or actively looking for work, was steady at 64.8 per cent.

The result was slightly above estimates, with a Reuters poll of 15 economists expecting the economy to have added 15,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to remain steady at 5.7 per cent.

The participation rate, the proportion of people in work or looking for it, remained steady at 64.8 per cent

Most economists agree Australia generally needs to create about 20,000 jobs a month to keep the unemployment rate stable in the longer term.

“The snap-back in hours worked in the month – despite the strength in employment being concentrated in part-time, suggests sample rotation was the key driver of the decline in April,” wrote economist at Deutsche Bank, Phil Odonaghoe.

“Growth in hours worked has slowed since the end of last year – consistent with part-time being the key driver of employment so far in 2016.”

Deutsche Bank said it does not see any implications for the Reserve Bank in the figures, and expects a rate cut at the August meeting after the release of second quarter inflation numbers.

The unemployed are increasingly giving up looking for full-time jobs, with the number searching for full-time employment falling 6,200 while those looking for part-time work increased 7,200.

Across the states unemployment fell in New South Wales and Queensland down to 5.2 per cent and 6.4 per cent respectively.

Unemployment rose in Victoria up to 5.8 per cent, Western Australia 5.7 per cent, South Australia 6.9 per cent and Tasmania 6.5 per cent.

Both the ACT and Northern Territory’s trend unemployment edged down to 3.8 per cent and 4.1 per cent respectively.

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