News National Jobless rate to remain high: IMF

Jobless rate to remain high: IMF

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The International Monetary Fund expects Australia will have the worst jobless rate in the Asia-Pacific region bar the Philippines, over the next two years.

The IMF is predicting a rate of 6.2 per cent in 2014 and 6.1 per cent for 2015.

Only the Philippines is higher in the region, with respective rates of 6.9 and 6.8 per cent.

Jobless rate to rise after August fall

Australia’s labour force numbers have been volatile in recent months with the unemployment rate swinging between a 12-year high of 6.4 per cent and 6.1 per cent.

Economists expect Thursday’s jobs figure for September will show an unemployment rate of 6.2 per cent.

More broadly, the IMF has made a modest upgrade to Australia’s growth forecasts in its latest World Economic Outlook, released in Washington on Tuesday, compared with those made in April.

The IMF expects Australia to grow by 2.8 per cent in 2014 and 2.9 per cent in 2015, but still below its long-term average of about 3.25 per cent and a level needed to help lift employment.

It sees a pick-up in exports offsetting waning mining investment.

However, it has nudged down its last forecast for world growth to 3.3 per cent in 2014 and to 3.8 per cent in 2015.

The IMF’s economic counsellor Olivier Blanchard describes the world economy being in the middle of a balancing act.

On one hand, countries must address the legacies of the global financial crisis, ranging from debt overhangs to high unemployment.

“On the other, they face a cloudy future,” Mr Blanchard says in the report.

“Potential growth rates are being revised downward, and these worsened prospects are in turn affecting confidence, demand and growth today.”

He sees three key risks to the outlook.

The long period of low interest rates does pose risks, such as increased household indebtedness – it ranks Australia in this category.

Geopolitical risks have also become more relevant, although he notes the effects of the Ukraine crisis have so far not spread, and the turmoil in the Middle East has yet to have much impact on energy prices.

“But clearly, this could change in the future, with major implications for the world economy,” Mr Blanchard said.

Finally, he says, the tentative recovery in the euro area could stall, although this is not the IMF’s baseline case.


WORLD: 3.3 per cent 2014, 3.8 per cent 2015


US: 2.2, 3.1

Euro Area: 0.8, 1.3

Japan: 0.9, 0.8

ASIA: 5.5, 5.6


Australia: 2.8, 2.9

New Zealand: 3.6, 2.8


China: 7.4, 7.1

India: 5.6, 6.4

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