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Australia’s jobless rate drops

More than 17,000 jobs were created last month, but that doesn’t mean everyone is holding onto their jobs.



39 year old Sydneysider Craig Mack lost his social media management job on Monday.


“I got into work and I had an email from HR. It was a meeting request about my employment, saying that I wasn’t really the right fit for the organisation.”


He finished that day.


“A little bit nervous, but a little bit relieved because I wasn’t totally happy … but mainly nervous, no job to go to and not a lot of savings.”


That prompted him to reach out to his network to find a new job – and he’s optimistic about his prospects.


“I’m really lucky, being in a growth industry I’ve been speaking to a lot of recruiters, I had one interview this morning, I’ve got another lined up for Friday and another one for Monday so it’s looking really hopeful.”


Craig is hoping to rejoin a jobs market which gained a little momentum in August.


New South Wales recorded the best unemployment rate at 6 per cent.


Victoria and Western Australia improved the most.


Federal opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor says it’s still not good enough.


“Unemployment, when there is a 6 in front of it, is never acceptable. Never acceptable for the people of Australia. There are just under 800,000 Australians still unemployed.”


Treasurer Joe Hockey concedes more work needs to be done.


“We want to get the unemployment level down and in the budget in May – we forecast that it would peak at 6.5 per cent.”


St George economist Janu Chan, however, is surprised at the overall strength of the numbers.


“It’s generally saying that the jobs market is doing very well, particularly because the economy is growing a bit below average.”


It’s becoming increasingly likely unemployment may have peaked.


Over the past year, 235,000 jobs were added to the economy – that’s the strongest jobs growth in more than four years.


But Janu Chan says below-trend economic growth may slow the rate of new job creation.


“If it hasn’t peaked then it is very close to doing so. We don’t want to rule out the possibility the unemployment rate could head a bit higher because the economy is still growing below trend, but our expectation is that the unemployment rate is going to stay pretty close to where it is over the next year or so.”


She says that’s likely to please the Reserve Bank.


“The labour market has been one major reason why it’s been a bit more comfortable leaving rates on hold. This set of data is going to give the RBA a bit more reassurance that the labour market is doing OK and it can leave rates on hold for a little bit longer.”


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