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January 14, 2010    

Australia continues to outperform as unemployment rate falls

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by Kay Murchie
”Australia

Australia’s unemployment rate fell in December to 5.5% from 5.6% in November, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

In comparison, the unemployment rate in both the US and Europe are around the 10% mark.

Australia’s figures came as a surprise to many analysts who had expected the rate to remain flat or rise slightly.

Meanwhile, the Bureau said part-time Christmas jobs led to the rise with the total number of jobs rising by 35,200, which comprised 7,300 full-time positions and 27,900 part-time roles.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard comments: “Today’s figures provide further evidence of how Australia has outperformed virtually every other advanced economy during the global recession.”

However, the latest unemployment figures raise the belief that Australia will increase interest rates again.

The official cash rate stands at 3.75%, the Reserve Bank of Australia has increased the rate by 25 basis points each month over the past three months.

Many analysts believe interest rates could hit 4.25% in the short-term.

Australia is one of the few developed economies not to have fallen into recession like its counterparts throughout the world.

The economy has benefited from an increase in commodity prices, while exports have received a boost due to demand from China for its iron ore and other raw materials.

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