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September 9, 2010    

Australia’s unemployment rate dips to 5.1%

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by Kay Murchie

Figures today revealed Australia’s unemployment rate dipped to 5.1% in August from 5.3% in July.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the economy created almost 31,000 jobs in August, with a total of 350,000 new jobs created in Australia in the last year.

“The Australian economy is clearly on fire. They are creating jobs at break-neck speed,” HSBC economist Frederic Neumann told Dow Jones Newswires.

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

Earlier this week, the Reserve Bank of Australia left interest rates at 4.5% for the fourth consecutive month and said rates were appropriate only for “the time being.”

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.

Last week, the Bureau of Statistics revealed the country’s economy grew by 1.2% in the second quarter of 2010, compared with 0.7% in the previous three month period.

The growth, which was fuelled by a 1.6% increase in household expenditure and an increase in exports of 5.6%, puts economic growth at 3.3% for the year to the end of June.

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