Australia’s unemployment falls to lowest in almost six years

Australia’s jobless rate edges closer to 5% full employment estimate. (Bloomberg pic)

SYDNEY: Australia’s jobless rate unexpectedly fell and full-time employment gained in July, overriding a drop in part-time employment and people seeking work.

Key details
Jobs fell 3,900 from June; economists forecast 15,000 gain Unemployment rate was 5.3%, the lowest since November 2012; estimate 5.4% Full-time jobs climbed 19,300; part-time employment dropped 23,200 Participation rate fell to 65.5%; economists predicted 65.7% Aussie dollar rose to 72.57 US cents at 11:51 am in Sydney from 72.36 pre-data

Big picture
Australia’s jobs market has remained solid this year, while cooling from last year’s record run of full-time hiring. Annual economic growth accelerated to above 3% in the first quarter; the central bank is relying on that rapid expansion and record-low rates to drive hiring and wages and rekindle inflation. That would potentially clear the path for the first interest-rate hike since 2010, though traders see little prospect of a move in the next 12 months.