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August 12, 2010    

Australia unemployment rate rises to 5.3% in July

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by Kay Murchie

Figures today revealed Australia’s unemployment rate rose unexpectedly to 5.3% in July from 5.1% in June.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 24,600 more people were out of work surprising analysts who had expected no change.

However, experts said the surprise rise may partly be due to revised population figures, which showed there were more people in the potential workforce than previously thought.

Economists said the figures will reduce the possibility of the central bank raising interest rates.

Australia, dubbed as the “wonder from Down Under”, is one of the few developed economies not to have fallen into recession like its counterparts throughout the world as it 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.

It was the first economy to raise rates from a 50-year low as the economic downturn eased. Other major economies opted for lower interest rates to boost their economies.

Meanwhile, commenting on today’s figures, Annette Beacher, senior strategist at TD Securities, said: “The unemployment rate is still fairly close to full employment and I still think that it’s a fairly enviable position.

“But it does add to the fact that the central bank can sit on hold for a couple of months just to see how these numbers pan out.”

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