The unemployment rate climbed to a seasonally adjusted 5.3 per cent in October as the economy lost 19,000 jobs during the month.
Thursday’s worse-than-expected result featured a 10,300 decrease in people with full-time work and a 8,700 decrease in people with part-time work, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
Most economists had expected the unemployment rate to remain unchanged at 5.2 per cent, with the Australian dollar dropping from 68.37 US cents to a new four-week low of 68.06 US cents within 10 minutes of the data being released.
The data is further evidence that three rate cuts and government tax offsets are failing to lift consumer spending and give businesses the incentive to expand, hire more people, or offer more hours.
Worryingly, underemployment increased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.5 per cent during October – widening the labour market slack that has kept a lid on wages growth.