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Unemployment Rate Rises To 3.5%

In the midst of inflation, repeated double interest rate hikes and industrial action, Australia’s unemployment rate has also taken a hit, jumping to 3.5 per cent.

This was despite most analysts predicting the rate would stay at the 50-year low of 3.4 per cent.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed employment added 33,500, against 35,000 expected and the participation rate increased to 66.6 per cent from 66.4 in July.

Seasonally adjusted hours worked rose by 0.8 per cent in August, reversing last month’s 0.8 per cent drop in hours worked.

“During the pandemic, we have seen changing patterns in employment and hours worked in the months with and after school holidays,” explains Lauren Ford, head of labour statistics at the ABS.

“The August rise in employment and hours occurred after the winter school holidays and flooding events in New South Wales, where we saw more people than usual working fewer hours in July.

“COVID-19 and other illness related worker absences continued to be reflected in hours worked in August.

”The number of people working reduced hours due to being sick remained elevated in August, at around 760,000 people. This is around double the number we typically see at the end of winter.”

Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe said last week, when announcing the latest rate hike that “how high interest rates need to go and how quickly we get there will be guided by the incoming data and the evolving outlook for inflation and the labour market.”


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