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Australia – Unemployment drops to 5.5%

10 May 2013

Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 5.5% in April from 5.6% in the previous month, according to the latest figures by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). But analysts said the data provides evidence of a further slowdown in the mining sector.

In Western Australia, home to one of the world's largest mining and oil & gas operators, unemployment rose to 5.2% in April from 4.8% in March. Economists said this reflected a slowdown in the mining sector. The country’s central bank said the country may face a period of economic pain as the mining boom may come to a halt and trigger job losses.

The ABS also reported the number of people employed increased by 50,100 to 11,663,200 in April. Both full-time and part-time employment increased, with full-time employment up 34,500 to 8,159,700 people and part-time employment up 15,600 people to 3,503,500.

The number of people unemployed decreased by 2,700 people to 685,300 in April. The labour force participation rate increased +0.2% to 65.3% in April.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain flat in April. “Obviously the numbers have been very volatile in recent months but if you look through that at the trend, employment does look as though it’s been improving since the beginning of the year,” said HSBC Australia chief economist, Paul Bloxham.

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