Unemployment defies experts again with a fall

By Kate Southam

Again economists predicted a rise in Australia’s unemployment and again it dropped – this time from 5.2 per cent in March to 4.9 per cent in April.

Newswire service AAP had surveyed 15 economists ahead of the release of the  Australian Bureau of Statistics unemployment figures to predict unemployment would rise from 5.2 per cent in March to 5.3 per cent in April.

Instead, a surprise for the market with a total increase in jobs of 15,500 taking the number of employed to 11.501 million people, seasonally adjusted.

Economists are now saying that unemployment has probably peaked.

The new jobless figures were not all good news. Full-time employment fell by 10,500 to 8.062 million in April while part-time employment rose 26,000 to 3.438 million.

ACTU boss Ged Kearney has been campaigning hard to raise awareness about the insecurity of work including the decline in permanent full time jobs.

The ACTU has also asked Fair Work Australia to increase minimum wage by $26 per week to a total of $615.30 per week but Ms Kearney says the campaign will continue to push up the minimum wage to $660 within three years.
In other employment news, the April participation rate fell to 65.2 per cent suggesting many people had given up looking for a job. The figure in March was a downwardly revised 65.3 per cent and April was forecast to be 65.4 per cent.

April jobless figures around the country:

Queensland saw unemployment drop from 5.5 per cent to 5.1 per cent
Victoria saw a big drop from 5.8 per cent to 5.3 per cent
A drop for WA from 4.1 percent to 3.8 per cent– the lowest rate in three years.
Northern Territory jobless dropped from 3.9 per cent to 3.8 per cent.
ACT from 3.4 per cent to 3.3 per cent
Tasmania’s jobless rose from 7 per cent to 8.3 per cent.
NSW also saw and increase from 4.8 per cent to 4.9 per cent. 
South Australia remained unchanged at 5.2 per cent.

CareerOne.com.au, May 2012.

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