THE NEWS WRAP: Unemployment rate “unexpectedly” falls, again

Australia’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6%, with the number of people employed growing by a seasonally adjusted 9100 in September, according to the latest monthly labour force figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.


The figures show the number of people in full-time work increased by 5000 while the number of part-time positions was up by 4100. However, the participation rate dropped to 64.9%, its lowest level since November 2006.


Unemployment fell in South Australia (6.8% to 6%), Western Australia (5% to 4.6%) and New South Wales (5.9% to 5.6%), remaining steady in Queensland, Tasmania and the Northern Territory, and increased in Victoria and the ACT.


Woolworths calls on liberalisation of WA retail laws


The West Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has joined Woolworths in calling for more flexible retail trading laws, saying small businesses could adapt their business models to compete with a “less-restrained” Woolworths.


“A Woolworths petrol station can sell film and flash bulbs on Sundays before 11am, but it’s illegal to sell a memory card for a digital camera at this time; can sell cigarettes before 8am on Mondays, but it’s illegal to sell nicotine patches at this time,” a Woolworths statement says.


“Those small businesses that are in competitive markets are the ones that have become most productive and most efficient over time because they’ve had to, to survive,” WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou says.


Potential reprieve in negotiations over US debt ceiling


US House Speaker John Boehner has proposed a short debt-limit increase with no policy conditions attached, providing a temporary reprieve from the threat of a US Treasury debt default.


While Boehner’s proposal would not end the US government shutdown, it would provide more time for negotiations over an increase to the US debt ceiling, providing a month-long reprieve from the threat of a debt default.


“The president is happy that cooler heads at least seem to be prevailing in the House, that there at least seems to be a recognition that default is not an option,” says White House press secretary Jay Carney.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 2.2% to 15126.1. The Aussie dollar is at US 94.53 cents.


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