Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Australian unemployment steady at 5.2%

SYDNEY: Australia's unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 percent in July, data showed Thursday, with the economy beating forecasts by creating 14,000 jobs.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the seasonally-adjusted jobless rate was boosted by a jump in both full and part-time employment, with 11,512,600 people now in work.

Economists had expected unemployment to tick up to 5.3 percent and for only 8,500 extra jobs to be created.

The Australian dollar rose slightly on the data to US$1.0586 from US$1.0569 immediately prior, with investors seeing it as further evidence against an interest rate cut.

Australia's central bank held rates steady at 3.50 percent for a second consecutive month this week, saying domestic growth was close to trend, inflation was low and employment was growing moderately.

"It certainly doesn't validate expectations for an aggressive rate cut scenario," Citi economist Josh Williamson said of Thursday's jobs data.

The government has forecast unemployment to hit 5.5 percent in the financial year to June 30, 2013.

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