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Australia – Unemployment eases to 5.5%

13 June 2013

The latest data by Australia’s Bureau of Statistics shows a slight drop in unemployment which eased to 5.5% from 5.6% in April. The unexpected fall of -0.1% equates to an additional 1,100 employees entering the workforce. The number of full-time jobs declined by 5,300 in May, but part-time employment rose by 6,400.

Sydney-based debt strategist Michael Turner, of the Royal Bank of Canada, said the labour market is not out of the woods yet. “We’ve come down a tick this month, but broadly we suspect the trend is toward a higher unemployment rate.”

In May, the biggest increases in employment were recorded in Victoria and South Australia, with New South Wales and Western Australian (WA) reporting falls in staffing numbers.

Government efficiency savings plans to cut 1,200 public sector jobs and cap its annual wages bill will further impact employment in WA. Opposition Leader, Mark McGowan describes the move as outrageous: “These job cuts are a rude slap in the face to the people of Western Australia.”

An economist at Moody’s Analytics in Sydney, Matthew Circosta, said the job market was fairly resilient. “Particularly with mining investment boom fading, and a lot of weakness we’ve seen in manufacturing, and a lot of the negative press we’ve seen from job losses in retail. Clearly some sectors are picking up the slack in healthcare and education and these types of sectors. On the whole, the job market is holding fairly steady.”

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