Australia’s jobless rate fell to 6.6% in December from 6.7% in November, with most of the drop due to the introduction of the federal disability pension, according to data released today.
“The jobless rates in Australia are more than three percentage points higher than expected, and it’s faster than the expected rate,” said Simon Chapman, chief economist at the Australian Bureau for Statistics.
Labor’s wage gains The data released by the ABS showed the labour force growth in December was a little faster than expected.
The labour force increased by 0.4% in the 12 months to December, according the ABS.
This is the first time since December 2007 that the labour-force growth rate has fallen below the 7.5% rate in the previous three months.
In December last year, the economy expanded by 0% while the labour market was still recovering from the global financial crisis.
“This is a big positive for the Australian economy,” Mr Chapman said.
“While there’s still a lot of slack in the economy, we’re seeing that momentum building and now it’s pushing back the unemployment rate.”
“This shows there’s a little bit of slack, but the economy is showing a little more momentum,” he said.
Mr Chapman added the ABS also released data on the unemployment rates in the Australian Capital Territory, the Northern Territory and the Australian states of Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania.
Labor says wage gains ‘a major victory’ The ABS has previously said the jobless figures are “not an indicator of broader employment”.
“We don’t know what the labour supply is like, so that’s a major victory for the ABS, because they’re going to have to work out how many people are actually going to be available to work, and they can’t be looking at the data at the moment,” Mr Martin said.
The Labor-led Coalition has been quick to attack the figures.
“Labor has taken the joblessness rate down from 6% to 6% and it doesn’t even take into account the 1.5 million Australians who are looking for work,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said in a statement.
“It’s a huge victory for those struggling to get by in a harsh economic climate.”
The ABS says there were 8.5m fewer people in the labour pool in December than in December 2016.
It said there were 2.2m fewer employed people.
The number of people receiving unemployment benefits dropped from a record high of 3.2 million in December to 2.4 million in November.
The unemployment rate in Australia is now 7.2%.
Unemployment in Queensland fell by 0 and the Territory’s by 0 in December.