Unemployment falls against expectations

By a staff reporter, with AAP

Unemployment in Australia fell in March, against analyst expectations, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The data shows the total number of jobs in Australia increased by 0.1 per cent to a seasonally adjusted 50,100 to 11,663,200 in the month.

Analysts had expected the nation to add 11,000 jobs in the month, tipping the unemployment rate would remain steady at 5.6 per cent. Instead, the rate fell to 5.5 per cent. 

The result is based on an upwardly revised March figures, which states total employment was 11.613 million.

But economists are tipping a rise over the next six months. 

The participation rate, the percentage of the working age population either employed or looking for a job, rose to 65.3 per cent, from 65.1 per cent, against analyst predictions it would hold steady. 

Full-time employment increased 34,500 to 8,159,700 for the month and part-time employment increased 15,600 to 3,503,500.

The ABS report also showed aggregate hours worked by employed people in Australia were up by 0.7 per cent in April, seasonally adjusted, after a fall of 0.2 per cent in March.

The result repeated the pattern of the previous two months, when hours worked fell by 0.2 per cent in January then rose 0.7 per cent in February.

Aggregate hours worked in April 2013 were 0.8 per cent higher than a year earlier in April 2012.

The figures also show the trend measure of hours worked rose by 0.2 per cent in April.

Results mixed across states

Across the states and territories, the individual unemployment rates were mixed.

The jobless rate in NSW fell to 5.3 per cent, from 5.5 per cent, and dropped to 5.6 per cent, from 5.9 per cent, in Queensland.

It also declined in South Australia to 5.7 per cent, from 5.8 per cent.

But in Victoria it rose to 5.8 per cent, from 5.7 per cent, jumped to 5.2 per cent, from 4.8 per cent, in Western Australia and increased to 7.5 per cent, from 7.3 per cent, in Tasmania.

Unemployment rose to 4.5 per cent, from 4.4 per cent, in the Northern Territory, but was unchanged at 4.6 per cent in the ACT.

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut its cash interest rate to a historic low of 2.75 per cent to "encourage sustainable growth" in the economy.

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Quick....put the cash rate up...
Sorry but I have no faith in the ABS figures - talking to people on the ground, in the work places, unemployment must be going up because everyone you talk to is putting people off and not employing. Even mining is reducing numbers on a big scale. I could be wrong but I think figures get fudged to suit the Government of the time.
Back in the day when it was decided it would be useful to have an objective measure of unemployment, policymakers had narrowed the method they would use to take the measurement to 2 choices: 1. Take a survey of 30,000 people using an objective definition of unemployment 2. Get Steve Larkin to talk to people on the ground, in the work places and report back Unfortunately they chose option 1 which has left the door open for rampant figure fudging.
Excellent comment Ben!! Really, really good. The numbers are never perfect but they can't be dismissed just because people don't like them.
So why did we cut the cash rate? Was it just to help save the debt slaves and banks?
Good news, look forward to seeing the sectors that were employing.
Bad news for the coalition and News Ltd!
Bad news for the coalition and News Ltd!
Too little, too late Harry. Can't really think of anything that can help Labor at this point. Unless they get rid of Julia. They would still lose, just not so badly.
Well, was the recent interest rate cut required? Perhaps. When it is considered that as mining investment reduces as expected, there is nothing left, thanks to the selfish motivations and complete lack of necessary skill in our successive governments from Howard onwards, in the country to employ people but the building of more houses. This will inevitably occur as asset speculation focuses on housing real estate. Will future generations be able to afford housing? Doesn't matter; its not politically relevant.
Lies, damn lies and statistics? I would suspect that there will be a jump in unemployment in the near future as former public servants start looking for work.