It seemed that Australia was immune to the rest of the world when it came to the slow down in economics and the austerity that most other countries are suffering from. The Aussie life was even more cherished by others, we had the sun, the sea and an economy that was doing great. But now it seems Australia has cold the flu from the rest of the world.
Australia’s unemployment rate rose to 6.3% in November – the highest since 2002, government data showed. The figure was up 0.1% from October despite 42,700 jobs being added to the economy, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.
Only 1,800 of those roles were full-time work, but the overall figure was higher than the 15,000 forecasted.A higher participation rate – people in work or looking for it – offset the job gains, raising the jobless rate.
Australia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 6.1% in December of 2014 as the number of employed persons rose and the number of unemployed declined.
The employment to population ratio, which expresses the number of employed persons as a percentage of the civilian population aged 15 years and over, increased 0.1 percentage points to 60.8 percent. The participation rate increased less than 0.1 percentage points to 64.8%.
The figures were much better than expected, and the Australian dollar spiked about half a US cent before retreating a little to settle around US83.60 cents.
However, the ABS said many of the new jobs – in fact 36,400 – were part-time positions for women. A total of 23,300 men were newly employed, offset by a net fall in overall jobs for women of 21,400.
Total full-time employment increased by 1,800 jobs, while the aggregate monthly hours worked dropped 4.4 million hours, or 0.3 per cent.
ANZ said the figures were “slightly better than the market expected, and suggested labour market conditions improved modestly in November”.
In January 2015 the fall in the unemployment rate brought some good economic news but, as always seems to be the case, it was tempered by the quarterly vacancy figures which shows life is pretty tough out there now for those looking for work – indeed as tough as it has been for more than a decade.
The labour force figures released last Thursday by the Bureau of Statistics showed that the unemployment rate was steady at 6.2% in trend terms but had unexpectedly fallen in the more volatile seasonally adjusted measure to 6.1%.
Because the seasonally adjusted rate is prone to jumping up and down a bit from month to month, the ABS says you should treat such monthly movements “with caution”. And given the drop in December was the biggest monthly change in almost two years, it is better to wait for a month or two to see if it was just a bit of statistical noise or the sign of the corner being turned.