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Jobless rate 5.0 per cent in February

  • From: AAP
  • March 10, 2011 12:16PM


Australia’s unemployment rate has remained at 5.0 per cent in February.

AUSTRALIA’S unemployment rate has remained at 5.0 per cent in February, showing that the labour market was reaching full capacity, economists say.

The January figure was an unrevised five per cent, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said today.

Total employment fell by a seasonally adjusted 10,100 to 11.413 million in the month.

St George senior economist Kate King said while the headline figure was on the weak side, the underlying data was very strong.

“That big 47,000 full time jobs is really the more important number … it’s a terrific number really,” Ms King said.

“It offsets the fall in full-time positions last month.”

Full-time employment rose by 47,600 to 8.068 million in January and part-time employment was down by 57,700 to 3.344 million.

She said the numbers showed the labour market was getting close to full capacity.

The ABS report also showed aggregate hours worked by employed people in Australia rose by 1.1 per cent in the month.

“That’s the key figure,” Ms King said.

“Overall, Australians are working more hours.”

The February participation rate was 65.7 per cent, from a downwardly revised 65.8 per cent in January.

The forecast was for total employment to have risen by 20,000 in February with unemployment steady at five per cent and for a participation rate of 65.8 per cent, according to the median of 11 economists surveyed by AAP.

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