ABS Reports of October Job Upticks

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By Erik Pineda | November 8, 2012 4:26 PM EST

The Australian economy pulled a pleasant surprise as government data showed the nation's jobless rate in October steady at 5.4 per cent, veering off from economists' projections of 5.5 per cent for the month.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), 11.523 million Aussies were listed as employed as in the first month of Q4 2012, yielding a total gain of 10,700 jobs that were added in the labour sector by the end of October.

Australia, the ABS said, generated additional 18700 full-time employments but in the process also lost 8000 part-time works, leading to 8.13 million of secured work placements in the month.

Part-time job slots, however, dropped to 3.393 million in the same month, the latest ABS data showed.

The flat rate, or more correctly the indicators that analysts had expected to weaken a bit, was achieved because the number of people (eligible to work) looking for jobs dipped to 65.1 per cent last month as against to the 65.2 per cent seen in September.

Happily for the Labor-led government, Australia registered job upticks two months in a row when economists had least expected it to do so.

The latest numbers, according to Employment Minister Bill Shorten, summed up to more than 820,000 jobs that were spawned under the watch of the Labor government since November 2007.

"This is a standout achievement in the context of fragile global growth and high levels of unemployment in advanced economies around the world," Mr Shorten was reported by The Daily Telegraph as saying in a statement.

"Australia has an enviable set of economic fundamentals that sees us performing well in the face of these persistent global headwinds," he added.

The country just saw a soft lift, JP Morgan Australia chief economist Stephen Walters said of the fresh data, noting that the plunging participation rate is not exactly a solid ground for the jobless rate to improve or at least stabilise.

"We were a bit lucky that the participation rate went down. If it hadn't, you would have got a slightly higher unemployment rate," the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported Mr Walters as saying on Thursday.

"We think you're going to get softer numbers than that over the next few months, so unemployment will be a little higher over the next few months," he added.

But the good news that can be attached with the new ABS report, Mr Walters said, is the increasing likelihood that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will now be afforded more leeway to trim the country's official interest rate in the coming months following the freeze this week.

"The RBA will be cutting rates some time in the next few months. We've got December, we think they'll be cutting at the next opportunity," the JP Morgan analyst said.

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