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Tuesday 15th of February 2011
February 10, 2011    

Australia’s unemployment rate holds steady at 5%

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by Kay Murchie

Figures today revealed Australia’s unemployment rate held steady at the 5% mark in January - despite the recent flooding which has affected farming and mining.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the economy created 24,000 jobs in January.

The Bureau comments: “Due to flooding in Queensland, operational difficulties were experienced in conducting the Labour Force Survey in January 2011.

“There was a larger than usual number of households in the Queensland sample which could not be interviewed,” suggesting “volatility” in the figures.

In comparison, the unemployment rate in the US stands at 9%, the UK’s is 7.9%, while unemployment in the 17-member euro zone is currently 10%.

Meanwhile, the figures are published in the same week that Treasurer Wayne Swan warned that the economy could contract in the January to March period.

The recent flood and cyclone disasters within the country has led to a fall in coal and agricultural exports.

Speaking to an Australian newspaper, Mr Swan said: “There is no doubt that the natural disasters will thump our economy in the first quarter of this year.”

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.

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