Job­less rate falls to 5.4pc

Fig­ures show jump of 32,600 part-time work­ers

The Queensland Times - - Finance -

THE job­less rate fell to 5.4 per cent in May, the low­est level this year, as 12,000 peo­ple found work in the month. While fewer Aus­tralians found em­ploy­ment than had been ex­pected by economists, the drop in the un­em­ploy­ment rate from 5.6 per cent in April was a sur­prise and partly re­flected a fall in the num­ber seek­ing em­ploy­ment. The jobs fig­ures re­flected a 32,600 jump in part-time work­ers, which was partly off­set by a 20,600 drop in full-time staff. The re­sult does not change the in­ter­est rate out­look. Many economists doubt there will be an in­crease in the cash rate un­til next year and that means the Re­serve Bank won’t be about to join the US Fed­eral Re­serve, which lifted its key rate for the sev­enth time in the past few years on Wed­nes­day. Re­serve Bank gov­er­nor Philip Lowe said in a speech on Wed­nes­day that con­ven­tional wis­dom puts full em­ploy­ment in Aus­tralia about a 5 per cent un­em­ploy­ment rate. Dr Lowe told a con­fer­ence in Mel­bourne it was pos­si­ble an even lower rate could be achieved if the 5 per cent mark was ap­proached at a steady pace, rather than too quickly. “In a num­ber of other coun­tries, es­ti­mates of the un­em­ploy­ment rate as­so­ci­ated with full em­ploy­ment are be­ing re­vised lower as wage in­creases re­main sub­dued at low rates of un­em­ploy­ment,” he told the Australian In­dus­try Group lunch. “We have an open mind as to whether this might turn out to be the case here in Aus­tralia, too.” The news was wel­comed by Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turnbull (pic­tured), who de­scribed it as “an­other great day for jobs”. “Jobs and growth is what we said in 2016 and we are de­liv­er­ing on it,” Mr Turnbull said yes­ter­day. “We have got the poli­cies that are build­ing a stronger econ­omy.” Fi­nance Min­is­ter Mathias Cor­mann said the next in­stal­ment of the Gov­ern­ment’s plan would come be­fore the Se­nate over the next par­lia­men­tary sit­ting fort­night when sen­a­tors could vote for per­sonal in­come tax re­lief and back a glob­ally com­pet­i­tive com­pany tax rate. Both the re­main­der of the Gov­ern­ment’s 10-year busi­ness tax plan and the mul­ti­phased, seven-year per­sonal in­come tax pack­age are due to be voted on in the Up­per House from Mon­day. “To keep our busi­ness taxes in Aus­tralia high when coun­tries around the world are low­er­ing theirs helps busi­ness over­seas take jobs and in­vest­ment away from Aus­tralia,” Se­na­tor Cor­mann said.

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