Australian jobs: Patchy, volatile, but OK

Australia’s April jobs report has just been released, and it’s missed expectations.

Unemployment increased to 6.2% from 6.1%, reversing a similar decline in March.

Total employment fell by 2,900, below the 5,000 gain expected, with full-time employment slumping by 21,900. Part-time employment, partially offsetting this, increased by 19,000.

The participation rate decreased to 64.8%, a decline of 0.1% in March, while total aggregate monthly hours worked increased by 1.1% to 1,651.9 million hours.

In what will no doubt raise concerns about the reliability of the ABS’ seasonally adjusted figures there were some huge moves in State unemployment levels. Unemployment in Tasmania jumped to 7.3% from 6.6% in March while that for South Australia leapt from 6.4% to 7.1%. Of the more-populous States New South Wales saw an increase of 0.1% to 6.0% while that in Victoria held steady at 6.2%. Queensland unemployment continued to rise, up 0.1% to 6.7%, while that for Western Australia increased 0.2% to 5.7%.

Although a disappointing report, both in terms of the headline and internals, it’s broadly in line with the Australian jobs data over the past 12 months: Patchy, volatile but OK.

That’s reflected in the market price action following its release. The Australian Dollar is now trading at .7970 having fallen to as low as .7924 initially on the release. The ASX 200 is off 0.6%, halving losses seen earlier in the session. Bond yields, like the Australian Dollar, are once again pushing higher. Three-year government yields are now testing 3.00%.

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