Australian unemployment trends higher

Australian unemployment trends higher

Australian unemployment trends higher

Meanwhile, the latest set of wage figures continue a long and disappointing trend.

The Australian economy added 22.6K jobs in April, still, the unemployment rate ticked higher to 5.6 percent from the previous month's reading of 5.5 percent, the Australian Bureau Statistics (ABS) data showed. Softer growth has mainly been felt through full-time roles.

Similarly, the separate Quarterly Business Survey employment index - which utilises a larger sample - is also consistent with robust jobs growth.

"The government might try and gloat today that they have reached a certain benchmark in jobs growth and yet. we are not seeing the so-called green shoots of wages growth as promised by the treasurer", Labor employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said. However, a byproduct of higher participation has been a stubbornly high unemployment rate. It has remained between 5.4 percent and 5.6 percent for nearly a year.

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In order for unemployment to fall, and for wage growth to eventually pick up, employment will need to outstrip growth in the size of Australian labour market for a considerable period.

Analysts were predicting a 20,000 rise in employment and the jobless rate to remain at 5.5 per cent for a fourth straight month.

"This will keep a lid on wages growth and price inflation, and will keep the RBA on the sidelines until at least the December quarter 2019".

Job seekers have little bargaining power and to some extent soft wage growth may have become ingrained in their expectations.

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One of the brighter spots, however, was in hours worked.

Finally, at the state level we may be seeing an emergence of a two-speed labour market. However, disappointing unemployment rate paused the rise in the bond yields across the curve.

Unemployment jumped in Queensland to 6.5 per cent and South Australia (to 5.9 per cent).

More details are in the April 2018 issue of Labour Force, Australia (cat.no. 6202.0).

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