Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 5.7% in November as Australia leads the developed world in post-recession job creation, increasing the chances of further interest rate increases.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that 31,200 jobs were added last month, following the gain of 68,000 jobs in September and October.
The unemployment rate fell from 5.8% in October.
Importantly, the rise in employment was driven by a 30,800 increase in full-time jobs to 7.627 million while part-time jobs increased by just 800.
The number of people employed in November increased by 31,200 (0.3%) to 10.868 million, seasonally adjusted, the ABS reported. The rise in employment was driven by a rise in full-time employment, up 30,800 to 7.627 million.
The ABS reported the seasonally adjusted number of people unemployed decreased by 13,300 in November, standing at 653,100.
The ABS seasonally adjusted monthly aggregate hours worked series showed a rise in November, up 13.4 million hours (0.9%) to 1,536.3 million hours.
The rise in full-time employment is an important signal of recovery.
The unemployment rate is now 1.8 percentage points from the trough of 3.9% in early 2008 and the economy has been boosted by demand from China.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said the drop in the unemployment rate was due to the federal stimulus package but he warned that the economy still faced challenges.
“It's a very good outcome, but we still have challenges ahead,”Swan said.
The Australian labour market has remained relatively resilient in the face of the sharp downturn in global economic growth and many employers in Australia chose to reduce workers’ hours rather than embark on large-scale job cuts during the global crisis and, with the economy picking up again on Asian demand for the nation’s abundant commodity resources, businesses will be keen to retain staff.
Australia’s central bank has raised official interest rates three times in the last three months to 3.75%.