Australia’s unemployment rate has pushed higher for the second consecutive month, putting pressure on the Reserve Bank’s stance that the jobs market needs to improve for the economy to meet its goals.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the unemployment rate ticked up to 5.2 per cent in April, from an upwardly revised 5.1 per cent the month before.
It was 4.9 per cent in February.
In the more stable trend terms, unemployment was steady at 5.1 per cent.
The increase was in line with softer leading indicators reported in job ads and business surveys, but higher than the consensus forecast and considerably higher than the RBA’s hopes for an improved outlook.
However, the RBA could point to more people looking for work as a positive in the figures.
The participation rate in the workforce hit new record high of 65.8 per cent in April.
The weaker than expected number briefly drove the Australian dollar below 69 US cents — its lowest level in more than three years.
Further cooling in the jobs market is not surprising, given insipid wages growth. Wages grew by just 0.6 per cent in the first three months of the year, or 2.3 per cent over the previous 12 months.
While jobless queues lengthened — there are now 703,000 Australians out of work — job creation continued at a solid rate.
In seasonally adjusted terms, 28,4000 new jobs were created — with 34,700 new part-time roles outweighing the loss of 6,300 full-time positions.
Unemployment vs jobs created