Australia’s Unemployment Rate Falls Lowest in 15 Years in November


Australian employment surged by the most in over 15 years in November and nudged the unemployment rate to a 19 month-low, but so stunning was the result that it revived doubts about the reliability of the data, reported Reuters.

The local dollar surged after the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported a staggering 71,400 net new jobs were created in November, completely confounding forecasts for a drop of 10,000.

It was the second straight month of huge gains with October enjoying a rise of 56,100.

JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy told AAP, November’s result was also the biggest monthly employment gain since 2000.

“But it’s very strong across the board and a big uptick in participation as well,” he said.

Mr Kennedy said the labour market has stabilised or even improved slightly during the past six months, which takes the pressure off the Reserve Bank to ease interest rates.

“There’s been an outperformance in the labour market relative to expectations and that would argue for the RBA to remain on hold going forward,” he said.

NAB economist Tapas Strickland said the seasonally adjusted figures have been affected by ABS survey methods but added that that employment growth is still strong.

The ABS said in its report that the current group of people it surveys for its labour force report have a higher participation rate in the jobs market, which Mr Strickland said inflates the size of the jobs growth figure.

However, he said the underlying trend of jobs growth has been around 25,000 a month, much stronger that the 15,000 that is needed to keep the unemployment rate steady.

“That’s reflecting the strength of the labour market,” he said.

Mr Strickland said he expects strong jobs growth to continue into the new year.

“The forward indicators, such as jobs ads, suggest employment growth of two per cent a year, and when you do the calculations, that implies 20,000 (jobs added) per month,” he said.

The participation rate, which refers to the number of people either employed or actively looking for work, rose to 65.3 per cent from 65.0 per cent in October, the ABS said.

According to the November data, annual growth in employment accelerated to a blistering 3 percent.

That compares to 1.9 percent in the United States, where the strength of the labour market will likely lead to a hike in interest rates this month.

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