Australian unemployment in shock fall

GLENDA KWEK
Last updated 13:40 10/04/2014

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In a surprise, Australia's unemployment rate has fallen to 5.8 per cent.

Economists had expected the jobless rate to rise to 6.1 per cent, the highest since July 2003, and for 2500 jobs to be added to the economy.

The latest figures came after February's surprise 80,500 jump in full-time positions, which boosted hope that a turnaround in the labour market could be in progress.

Recent forward job indicators have pointed to improving conditions in the labour market. On Monday, March job advertisement figures from ANZ showed an increase for the third-straight month, amid signs the demand for labour is strengthening.

Job ads for March lifted by 1.4 per cent, after a 4.7 per cent increase in February, the monthly ANZ survey showed.

Last week, Bureau of Statistics data found job vacancies rose by 2.6 per cent in the three months to February, as available positions in public and private sectors lifted after weakening in the previous quarter.

But while economists said a peak in the jobless rate could be close, it would not rapidly fall either amid the strong growth in population.

The Reserve Bank of Australia noted in its March board meeting statement last week that the jobless rate "will probably rise a little further in the near-term".

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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