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Australia – Unemployment jumps unexpectedly

11 April 2013

Australia’s jobless rate has jumped to its highest level in over three years and analysts expect unemployment to rise further. According to the latest government data published today, the unemployment rate rose to 5.6% in March, up from 5.4% in February. This is the highest rate since November 2009.

The number of unemployed people increased by 25,900 people to 686,900 in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported on Thursday.

It also said that the number of people in employment decreased by 36,100 to 11,592,700 in March. Both part-time and full-time employment dropped in the month. The decrease in total employment was mainly driven by falls in male part-time and female full-time employment.

Economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain flat in the month. “Such volatile swings in employment across two months certainly make it difficult to pick a trend,” said Savanth Sebastian, an economist at Commsec.

“While employers are not out there significantly adding to the workforce, they are not out there firing existing staff. Rather businesses are in a holding pattern, awaiting an improvement in conditions,” he said. 

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