Australia Unemployment Rate Stuns, Remains Even, But Full-Time Jobs Decline
Australia's unemployment rate surprised economists, remaining steady in the month of July at 5.8%. Aside from the month of April, this is the only other time in which the jobless rate did not rise since August 2008. At first glance, the fact that 32,200 jobs were created during the recent month might paint a picture of an economy that may be on the verge of recovery. Upon further inspection, however, one may see that most of these new jobs are part-time ones. Indeed, the 16,000 full-time positions that were cut add to June's revised decline of 23,400 of such spots. But not all is lost here. Recent trade data saw the deficit unexpectedly shrink as export strength resurfaced. Should sales abroad continue to move upward, then a rebound in the economy could come as early as the first three months of 2010. Afterall, the Reserve Bank of Australia shifted its policy bias to "neutral" during the release of its interest rate decision on Tuesday. The distinct change in rhetoric from that of the previous meeting added to speculation that the bank sees signs of recovery in the nearer future. During the July meeting, the bank said that "the Board's current view is that the outlook for inflation allows some scope for further easing of monetary policy, if needed," but completely removed any such commentary this time.