Jobs Firm

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

In the end, the June jobs numbers were a bit of an anti-climax.

The unemployment rate edged up to 4.3 per cent in June from the 33-year low in May of 4.2 per cent.

Economists say the news has eased the pressure of an interest rate rise before this year's election.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said employment rose for an eighth straight month, adding 2,500 people to the workforce, although 34,300 full-time jobs were lost, reversing some of the gains in previous months.

Economists had expected employment to rise by 15,000, with the unemployment rate creeping up to 4.3 per cent.

Despite the small change, economists said the labour market was still tight, although the optimistic had forecast a jobless rate down around 4.1 per cent.

Wages remain the major concern, although so far there has been few signs of a break out.

The Consumer Price Index (and the RBA measures) are due out in less than two weeks and will determine the immediate direction of interest rates.

The jobless rate in NSW improved to 4.7 per cent in June from 4.9 per cent in May, while in Victoria it was steady on 4.7 per cent.

In Queensland, the unemployment rate was 3.5 per cent compared with 3.4 per cent in May, in South Australia it rose to 4.8 per cent from 4.7 per cent, and in Western Australia it rose to 3.7 per cent from 3.3 per cent.

In Tasmania, the rate jumped to 5.3 per cent from 4.3 per cent, in the Northern Territory it rose to 4.8 per cent from 4.6 per cent and in the ACT it remained steady on 3.1 per cent.

The ABS said employment increased by 2,500 to 10,459,800. Full-time employment decreased by 34,300 to 7,495,400 and part-time employment increased by 36,900 to 2,964,400.

Unemployment increased by 8,100 to 472,000.

The number of persons looking for full-time work increased by 4,400 to 330,600 and the number of persons looking for part-time work increased by 3,800 to 141,400.

The unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.3%.

The male unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point but the rounded estimate remained at 3.9%, and the female unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point to 4.8%.

The participation rate decreased to 64.9%.

Treasurer Peter Costello said yesterday thatinflation remains constrained, despite the growth in the jobs market and tight labour force conditions.

"Inflation remains constrained and consistent with our targets," Mr Costello said inMelbourne.

He said the latest labour force figures showed that the unemployment rate had been below five per cent for 16 months in a row.

Although total jobs growth in the month of June was weaker-than-expected, it had consolidated the very strong growth seen in April and May, and "these figures lock in growth" Mr Costello said.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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