Australia Jobs Growth Speeds Ahead, Nudges Unemployment Lower

By Reuters
October 18, 2017Australia
Australia Jobs Growth Speeds Ahead, Nudges Unemployment Lower
Mixologist Thor Bergquist makes handcrafted sodas at his cocktail bar PS40 in Sydney, Australia. (Alana Dimou)

SYDNEY—Australia enjoyed another month of solid jobs growth in September, with the annual pace of gains sprinting ahead to a healthy 3.1 percent and nudging the unemployment rate lower.

Data out on Thursday showed the unemployment rate slipped to 5.5 percent, compared with analysts’ expectations for a steady 5.6 percent. That was the lowest reading since May, which itself was the lowest since early 2013.

Employment climbed a seasonally adjusted 19,800 in September, again topping forecasts for a 15,000 rise.

Annual jobs growth zoomed ahead to 3.1 percent from an already rapid 2.7 percent. Such a pace would be equivalent to an annual rise of 4.5 million in U.S. payrolls.

That took jobs gains for the year so far to a rousing 371,500, led largely by strength in the healthcare, construction and education sectors.

The upside surprise lifted the Australian dollar a fifth of a U.S. cent to $0.7864 and led investors to further push out the timing of any increase in interest rates.

Interbank futures are not fully priced for a rate hike until November next year.

The data should offer reassurance for the Reserve Bank of Australia, which held rates at 1.50 percent for more than a year as it balanced soft domestic demand and inflation against escalating household debt.


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