Huge miss on Australian jobs

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Australia’s August employment data today unveils a big miss to the downside with a fall of 3,900 jobs (seasonally adjusted) against expectations of a rise of 15,000.

The breakup of the data was slightly more encouraging at the margins, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) saying that full-time jobs rose 11,500 while part-time jobs fell 15,400.

Showing the difficulty in reading the data the unemployment rate dipped to 5.6% from 5.7% previously. That’s a result of the fall in participation rate, the number of people who say they are in the workforce, from 64.9% to 64.7%

Further complicating the read on the data the ABS said that total hours worked in the economy fell by 0.2%, 3.9 million hours, during the month of August. In many ways that mitigates the positive from the shift from part-time to full-time in this month’s data.

Looking at the state based measures of unemployment the ABS said that in seasonally adjusted terms New South Wales again showed signs its economy is slowing losing 9,200 jobs during the month while Queensland saw 7600 jobs disappear.

But these losses were more than offset with a stunning, if somewhat unbelievable, increase of 20,700 jobs in Victoria.

The participation rates moves from state to state have played havoc with the observed unemployment rate in seasonal adjustment terms with New South Wales unemployment falling to 5% while Tasmania, where jobs actually increased, saw its unemployment rate increase from 6.3% to 7.2%.

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