AUSTRALIA UNEMPLOYMENT STEADY AT 5.7%

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Australian employment rose by 10,800 in April in seasonally adjusted terms, narrowly missing expectations for an increase of 12,000.

Despite the small headline miss, the number of employed Australians rose to 11.917 million, the highest level on record. Over the past year employment increased by 2.1%.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), full time employment fell by 9,300, following a 10,000 decrease in March. Helping to offset that decline, part time employment rose by 20,200.

Over the past 12 months full time employment increased by 83,800, overshadowed by 160,900 gain in part time employment. In percentage terms, full time employment grew by 1.04%, more than four times slower than part time employment which grew 4.48%.

Fitting with the split between full time and part time employment, the total number of hours worked in April decreased 17.9 million hours to 1,613.8 million hours.

The unemployment rate came in at 5.7%, below the 5.8% level expected and unchanged from March. It currently sits at the lowest level seen since September 2013.

This was helped by a surprise decline in the labour force participation which fell 0.1% to 64.8%.

The number of unemployed rose fractionally, increasing to 723,300 from 722,900 in March. Over the past year unemployment has fallen by 6.0%.

By state and territory, New South Wales recorded the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate across the country at 5.3%, unchanged from March. It was followed by Victoria and Western Australia at 5.6%, Tasmania at 6.3%, Queensland with 6.5% and South Australia at 6.8%.

Unemployment in the ACT and Northern Territory came in at 4.1% and 4.5% respectively in trend terms.

With employment increasing modestly and unemployment holding steady at 5.7%, there are few monetary policy implications from the report other than it does little to dim the view that a further rate cut from the Reserve Bank of Australia is coming, most likely in August.

If anything, the split between part and full time employment and the decline in hours worked will be seen by some as an additional reason for the RBA to cut rates, particularly in light of the further decline in Australian wages growth registered in the year to March.

Following the release of the report the Australian dollar is trading at .7222, down 0.08% for the session. It briefly dipped as low as .7210 shortly after the figures hit.

The ASX 200 is down 0.63%, relatively unchanged from where it was trading prior to the release.

Cash rate futures currently put the odds of a further 0.25% rate cut from the RBA in August at 73%, unchanged from earlier in the session.

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