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Australia’s jobless rate falls to 4.9%

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by Kay Mitchell

Figures today revealed Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 4.9% in March – the lowest level since December 2008.

The drop comes despite the recent flooding and cyclones which has affected farming and mining and is likely to impact negatively on economic growth.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the economy created 37,800 jobs in March – much better than analysts had forecast.

In comparison, the unemployment rate in the US stands at 8.8%, the UK’s is 8%, while unemployment in the 17-member euro zone is currently 9.9%.

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.

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) elected to keep interest rates on hold at 4.75% – for the fifth consecutive month.

However, the recent twin disasters could see inflation rise so monetary policy will be closely watched in the short-term.

However, the RBA expects prices to rise temporarily and fall back later in the year and inflation is expected to remain within its 2-3% target.

Following today’s jobs news, the Australian dollar rose to a fresh 29-year high of $1.0489 against the US dollar.

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News posted: April 7, 2011

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