Unemployment rate lowest in over a decade

Australia’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 per cent in June, hitting its lowest level since December 2010.

It was the eighth consecutive monthly fall in the rate, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

The decline in the jobless rate from 5.1 per cent in May came as a 29,100 people joined the workforce.

“The declining unemployment rate continues to coincide with employers reporting high levels of job vacancies and difficulties in finding suitable people for them,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

Full-time employment jumped by 51,600 in the month, but was partly offset by a 22,500 decline in part-time workers.

BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter says while the lockdown in NSW has been extended to the end of July, the latest data suggests the impact on employment will hopefully be limited.

“Assuming the current outbreaks are contained, it is likely that employment will continue to rise and the unemployment rate will fall,” Dr Hunter said.

Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe wants to see full employment before considering raising the cash rate, which he believes will need to see the jobless rate close to four per cent.

Forward indicators of employment, such as job advertising, remain strong.

While the latest SEEK employment report showed new job ads easing 1.3 per cent in June, they remain 91.6 per cent higher than June 2020 and 23.7 per cent up on June 2019.

“June is traditionally a slightly quieter posting month as it is the end of the financial year,” SEEK managing director Kendra Banks said.

“Many businesses hold off advertising new roles until July, when budgets are handed down and priorities for the coming financial year are set.”

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