ASB Surprises Aussies with 5.8% Unemployment Rate, Not 6.1% as Expected; Australian Dollar Reaches 4-Month High

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Instead of an 11-year record high unemployment rate of 6.1 per cent that economists forecast on Wednesday, the Australian Bureau of Statistics surprised Aussies with a different figure. The number of jobless Aussies actually went down, rather than up, as 18,100 new jobs were created in March.

That translated instead into a 4-month high as the joblessness rate went down to 5.8 per cent, indicating a stronger economy under the Abbott-led government.

The data, said RBC Capital Markets senior economist Su-Lin Ong, is an indicator that the labour market will improve in 2014 compared with the fairly subdued market in 2013.

CommSec Chief Economist James Craig noted creation of jobs has been the strongest in 24 months, saying, "There is no question that the economy has lifted and it is showing signs of stabilizing with unemployment having peaked or pretty close to it."

He said the numbers would mean that there would no longer be any forthcoming overnight cash rate increase. Mr Craig instead hinted that the numbers point to higher chances of a key lending rate increase by the Reserve Bank of Australia.

The unexpected reversal of unemployment expectations led to the Australian dollar reaching a four-month high level of 94.43 U.S. cents, a 0.6 per cent increase.

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