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Unemployment level drops, May RBA cut in doubt

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Approximately 37,700 more Australians entered the Labour Force in March, decreasing the nation’s estimated seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) latest unemployment numbers come as a bit of a surprise when looking at what analysts had forecast. Bloomberg analysts had predicted the unemployment rate would remain at 6.3 per cent during March, with expectations of only 15,000 new jobs.

In trend terms the unemployment rate has remained at 6.2 per cent, despite the positive seasonally adjusted results.

Full time employment saw a rise of 31,500 jobs during March, reaching 8.13 million. Part-time employment saw a rise of 6,100 to 3.59 million. The ABS said the overall rise in employment was driven by an increase in full-time employment for both males (up 24,800) and females (up 6,700).

Predictions that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) would be making a cut in May are now being questioned. A 73 per cent chance of another rate cut was forecast back in May, the unemployment rate released by the ABS today saw that number adjusted to 57 per cent in just under an hour.

National Australia Bank Senior Economist David de Garis said the economy is doing a little better than expected, citing the ABS results and retail sales numbers as positive contributors.

“On the basis of the data, there’s not a strong case for easing,” Mr de Garis said.

“A May cut is looking less likely.”

JP Morgan Economist Tom Kennedy took a different stance, saying that, while the results would be taken into account at the next RBA meeting, a cut was still likely.

“Today’s numbers would suggest the weakness in the labour market of the past few months was potentially a little overstated,” Mr Kennedy said.

“But we’re still of the view that the RBA will need to lower the cash rate a little further to support the economy.”

  • Senko Naga

    Statistics is rather a crude tool. Unemployment is low, one reason many be, many would have dropped out of looking for jobs (unregister from job seeking list), than registering to seek jobs, which is hard to found, in this present climate.