• Australia jobless rate rises to 6.3%

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    SYDNEY: Australia’s unemployment rate jumped to 6.3 percent in July despite the creation of tens of thousands of new positions, official data showed on Thursday, as the economy struggles to shift away from mining-led investment.

    The jobless rate has edged up over the past year to around a decade-high, while wages growth has been weak and business investment outside the mining sector remains soft.

    The size of the labor force also increased, with the participation rate—which measures the proportion of adults in work or looking for work—surging from 64.8 percent in June to 65.1 percent.

    A total of 38,500 jobs were created last month, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said, with some 12,400 of the positions added to the economy were full-time while 26,100 were part-time.

    The Australian dollar slipped slightly to 73.43 US cents after the data was released.
    The seasonally adjusted July reading was higher than analysts’ expectations and followed a revised 6.1 percent reading in June.

    The unemployment rate last reached 6.3 percent in January this year and in October 2014, and before that in September 2002.

    “The broad story here if you look over the last 12 months, we’ve touched 6.3 percent unemployment a few times,” JP Morgan senior economist Ben Jarman told Agence France-Presse.

    “We’ll still in that range though admittedly at the top end of it. It’s a bit of a disappointing result in that context.”

    The Australian economy has chartered a rocky path as it exits from an unprecedented resources boom that has helped it avoid a recession.

    Despite the increase in the unemployment rate for July, analysts do not expect the Reserve Bank to shift in its outlook for the economy as it had previously forecast it to peak to around 6.5 percent.

    The central bank is due to release its quarterly reading of the economy in its Statement of Monetary Policy on Friday.

    AFP

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