Unemployment rate drops to 5.1%: Midday roundup

The national jobless rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.1% in August, according to the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figures show the unemployment rate dropped to 5.1%, although economists had expected the rate to rise to 5.3%.

However, the fall comes as fewer people are looking for work. The participation rate fell to 65%, the lowest level since January 2007.

Employers slashed 9,300 part time jobs, with a net gain of 8,800.

Qantas, Emirates announce codeshare agreement

Qantas and Emirates Airlines have announced a decade-long codeshare deal that will allow the two airlines to integrate their networks, scheduling and pricing.

Shares in Qantas rose 6% after the news was announced.

Under the new deal, Qantas will use Dubai as its hub for European flights and fly daily services to London through the city.

In a statement, chief executive Alan Joyce said the deal would be a good move for the international business, which is operating at a loss:

“A key objective is to make Qantas International strong and viable and bring it back to profitability,” he said.

“This partnership will help us do that, while building on our strengths in Qantas Domestic, Qantas Frequent Flyer and (low-cost carrier) Jetstar.”

Shares rise as Euro investors wait for news

The Australian sharemarket has risen this morning following good employment data and as European investors await news on whether the European Central Bank will embark on a bond-buying program.

The benchmark S&P/ASX2000 index was up 47 points or 1.1% to 4326.1 at 11.50 AEST, while the Australian dollar remained steady at $US1.02.

In the United States, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 11.5 points or 0.1% to 13,047.5.

Swan defends power policy decision

Treasurer Wayne Swan has defended the Government’s decision to abandon plans to pay some coal-fired power generators to shut-down.

“(It) didn’t give value for money – that’s why we didn’t proceed with it,” he told ABC Radio today.

“We’ve fought tooth and nail to put in place a carbon price in the Australian economy, (despite) entrenched opposition at every level,” he said.


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