CANBEERA: Australia’s unemployment rate has unexpectedly dropped to 5.8 per cent, in positive economic news for the Turnbull government ahead of the pre-budget break. The February fall in figures was released today, and follows a rise in the unemployment rate to six per cent in January.
However, the number of people employed barely moved – just 300 new jobs were created last month, being the balance of 15,900 new full-time jobs offset by the loss of 15,600 part-time workers. The unemployment rate fell as fewer people sought work, with the participation rate declining to 64.9 per cent from 65.1 per cent.
Deputy Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has said that an important factor in the outlook for interest rates will be whether economic growth continues to be sufficient to accommodate growth in employment. Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said there was nothing to cheer about in the latest labour force report.