19 April, 2024
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Jobless rate unexpectedly jumps to 3.7 per cent

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The unemployment rate lifted to 3.7 per cent in January, with 11,500 jobs lost from the economy.

The participation rate fell 0.1 percentage point to 66.5 per cent as per Australian Bureau of Statistics jobs data for the month of January.

“With employment decreasing by around 11,000 people, and the number of unemployed increasing by 22,000 people, the unemployment rate rose to 3.7 per cent,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

“This was the second consecutive monthly fall in seasonally adjusted employment but followed very strong growth during 2022.”

The jobless rate has been hovering in the mid-threes for the past six months due to strong demand for workers.

In December, the unemployment rate held at 3.5 per cent, with 14,600 jobs lost from the economy.

The participation rate fell 0.2 percentage points to 66.6 per cent in the final month of 2022.

Economists and researchers expected another robust jobs report in January, tipping another 20,000 jobs to be added to the economy and the unemployment rate holding firm at 3.5 per cent.

Jobs data is watched keenly by the central bank because of the relationship between the tight labour market and higher wages, which can feed into inflation.

The Reserve Bank, which delivered its ninth interest rate hike last week, will be looking for signs of a wage-price spiral, which is driven by workers demanding higher pay to combat the rising cost of living.

– AAP

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