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Australia’s Full-Time Employment Surges in February

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Australia’s Full-Time Employment Surges in February

The Australian economy last month posted the biggest surge in full-time employment in more than 22 years, a sign job growth is finally accelerating after a lull period.

Australian employers added 80,500 full-time workers in February, the biggest increase since August 1991, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported today. Overall employment increased 47,300, exceeding forecasts by more than three times. The number of people in part-time employment decreased 33,300, while the jobless rate remained at 6 percent.

The participation rate, a measure of the working age population in the labour force, held steady at 64.7 percent, official data showed.

The unexpected surge in employment eases concerns about the labour market, which according to the central bank is expected to worsen over the course of the year. The Reserve Bank of Australia said this week it expects the jobless rate to climb in 2014. The jobless rate is currently at the highest level since 2003.

The Australian economy expanded at an annualized rate of 2.8 percent in the final three months of 2013, down from a high of 4 percent in early 2012. Over the past two years the central bank has slashed interest rates to a record low of 2.5 percent to stimulate recovery amid a broad slowdown in the mining industry.

The robust jobs report helped push the Australian dollar higher Thursday. The AUDUSD pair soared above 0.91 in intraday trade. As of 17:45, the pair was trading at 0.9043, a gain of 51 pips. Since March of last year the Australian dollar has declined by more than 13 percent versus the greenback.

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