VICTORIA TOP STATE FOR JOBS
AUSTRALIA’S unemployment rate has inched up despite a rise in the number of people with jobs.
But Victoria has kept its position as one of the best states in the nation to find work, official figures reveal.
The national jobless rate climbed 0.1 per cent last month to 5.6 per cent — the highest level in nine months — the Australian Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
In Victoria, the unemployment rate was steady at 5.3 per cent.
THE jobless rate has hit its highest level in nine months despite a rise in the number of people with jobs.
Across the nation, the jobless rate climbed 0.1 per cent last month to 5.6 per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said yesterday.
The report card for Victoria was far better, with the rate holding steady at 5.3 per cent — the second lowest in Australia.
Nationally, the rate clocked in higher than expected. Economists were broadly expecting a steady reading at 5.5 per cent.
However the number of people employed rose by 22,600, the bureau said, compared with an expected 20,000 increase.
There were 32,700 more full-time jobs in April, while part-time employment fell 10,000. The participation rate, broadly measuring the proportion of people in or wanting work, was up slightly at 65.6 per cent, from 65.5 in March.
The Australian dollar was boosted by the statistics, rising from US75.18c to US75.27c after they were released at 11.30am.
Strong job creation over the past year has been met by rising labour market participation, resulting in a fairly stable unemployment rate.
But there have been signs of a slowdown in recent months — something economists warn will hold back progress toward lowering the jobless rate to levels consistent with rising wage pressure.
ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said employment growth had “clearly slowed over the past few months, after a very strong run through 2017”.
“While labour market leading indicators are a little more mixed now, we remain confident that the outlook ... remains solid,” Ms Emmett said.
JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said the latest employment statistics were “mixed, though on balance the main details of the release came in softer than anticipated”.
Separate statistics this week showed the pace of Australian wage growth remained near record lows in the first three months of the year, which could force the Reserve Bank to stand pat on rates for longer.
Wages rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.5 per cent in the first quarter, and are up 2.1 per cent from a year earlier.
The RBA has outlined its concerns about subdued wages growth at a time of soaring household debt.
Though the rapid build-up in household debt has slowed, levels remain among the highest in the world.