The unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 5.6% in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said today.
This is the highest unemployment rate since 2009, but follows 74,000 jobs being created in February.
Analysts had forecast the jobless rate to be unchanged in March.
CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian says the March figures would be confusing for anyone “wondering what was the true state of the labour market”.
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“A stellar 74,000 jobs were created in February (which incidentally marked the best job creation in 13 years) followed by over 36,000 jobs lost in March and the unemployment rate has reached a three-and-a-half-year high.
“Such volatile swings in employment across two months certainly make it difficult to pick a trend. Clearly the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
“The more smoothed trend measures on employment, suggest that modest consistent employment gains are the defining feature of the current employment landscape.
“In fact in trend terms employment has consistently grown by between 9,000-17,000 jobs over the past six month. The job market is healthy but becalmed, and consistent with the performance of the broader economy,” he says.
In its March update, the ABS reported the number of people employed decreased by 36,100 to 11,592,700.
Both part-time and full-time employment decreased, part-time employment down 28,700 people to 3,481,500 and full-time employment, down 7,400 to 8,111,300 people.
The decrease in total employment was mainly driven by decreases in male part-time and female full-time employment.
The number of people unemployed increased by 25,900 people to 686,900 in March, the ABS reported.
The ABS reported a seasonally adjusted labour force participation rate decrease of 0.2 percentage points to 65.1% in March.
This article first appeared on Property Observer.