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Australian Unemployment Holds Steady

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Australian Unemployment Holds Steady

Australian Unemployment data held it’s own last month despite an anticipation for an increase in the headline rate. Unemployment remained at a level of 5.8% from April to May while economists were predicting a deterioration to 5.9% on the month.

The actual changes in employment levels however were quiet mixed across the main categories. The overall employment change on the month showed a seasonally adjusted fall of 4,400, this compared to a revised April reading of 10,300 new jobs taken up and a market consensus estimate for a further 10,000 in the month of May.

Structurally the situation contains some positive news for longer term stability within the Australian economy. Fulltime jobs grew 22,000 in May representing a marked increase over April’s 14,200. These new Fulltime positions came at the expense of a similar fall in the Part-time sector, here the economy shed 27,000 jobs in May following an April where there was no change to the Part-time metric.

To keep the employment change numbers in context, it has to be noted that the Participation Rate fell slightly on the month. This is now reading at 64.6% compared to April’s 64.7%.

Australia’s unemployment has steadily been rising since early 2012, the recent peak at 6.0% appears to be the top and today’s readings will offer a little comfort to the Australian authorities. The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) currently has it’s hands tied by rising inflation levels and so has little stimulus to offer the employment markets.

A silver lining on the inflation front was offered earlier this morning in the form of the Consumer Inflation Expectation data, this reading has now fallen back to 4.0% from 4.4% in April. The actual Consumer Price Index for Australia is currently running at 2.9%, this is an acceptable level but the trend has been clearly upwards from the July 2012 low of 1.2%.

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