Thursday, April 11, 2013

Jobless rate spikes to 5.6 per cent

By Business editor Peter Ryan

Australia's unemployment rate has jumped to 5.6 per cent catching some economists off-guard.

According to the Bureau of Statistics, the number of people with jobs fell by more than 36,000.

Listen to my report from The World Today.

The result has added to concerns that the economy is weakening in some sectors and keeps the prospect of another interest rate cut on the agenda.

The outcome for March is a significant snap back or adjustment after the February result which had 71,500 new jobs which has been  revised upwards to 74,000.

But this time around it's all about payback. A jobless rate of  5.6 per cent is a three year high last seen in mid-2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

Overall jobs are down by 36,100 and of that 7,400 full-time positions  have disappeared.

The participation rate has  fallen to 65.1 per cent which is often a sign that some people have actually given up the hunt for work.

JP Morgan's chief economist Stephen Walters says the result counters signs of a pickup in non mining parts of the economy

"Just this week alone we've now got a much higher unemployment rate, we've had business confident deteriorate this week, certain business conditions were a lot weaker particularly the employment measures and we also had consumer confidence slump yesterday and to top all that off we've now got the currency at post float high in terms of, in trade weighted terms so a pretty sobering message today," Mr Walters told The World Today.

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