Australian Jobs Growth Surges In August

By James Glynn Features Dow Jones Newswires

Australia added 54,200 new jobs in August, well above market expectations, cementing a strong uptrend over the last six months.

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The country's unemployment rate was unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 5.6% in August, as more people entered the job market.

Economists surveyed ahead of the release had expected a steady jobless rate, predicting the economy would add 20,000 jobs in the month.

The number of people in full-time work rose 40,100, while those in part-time work rose 14,100, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The workforce participation rate rose to 65.3% in August from 65.1% in July.

Australia's job market has been a bright spot for much of this year, with full-time job creation leading an acceleration in hiring, and lowering the jobless rate.

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Still, Australia faces a big problem of underemployment and flat wages growth, which is holding done consumer confidence. Underemployment decreased by 0.2 points to 8.6% in August from July.

The economy is still a long way from achieving full employment, estimated by the Reserve Bank of Australia at around 5.0%.

The RBA has kept its benchmark interest rate on hold at 1.5% for over a year, and is not expected to come off the sidelines until next year at the earliest.

-Write to James Glynn at james.glynn@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 13, 2017 21:55 ET (01:55 GMT)