The rate of unemployment surged by 0.3 per cent in January to hit 6.4 per cent, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The spike in unemployment came after a 0.1 per cent drop in December, which led many commentators to declare the danger period over.
At the end of January there were 795,200 unemployed people in Australia, an increase of 34,500 from December 2014. The number of employed people meanwhile fell by 12,200.
While January’s disappointing figures surprised many commentators, they will vindicate the Reserve Bank of Australia’s decision to cut the rate, a decision which was largely based on the belief that the unemployment figure would continue to rise.
This brings Australia’s unemployment rate above that of the United States (5.6 per cent), the United Kingdom (5.8 per cent), Germany (4.8 per cent), Japan (3.4 per cent) and New Zealand (5.7 per cent). The unemployment rate in all of these countries, apart possibly from New Zealand, is on a downward trend, while Australia’s rate is on an upward trend.
However Australia still compares favourably with unemployment rates in Canada (6.6 per cent), France (10.4 per cent), Italy (12.9 per cent), South Africa (24.3 per cent), Greece (25.7 per cent) and Spain (23.7 per cent).