Unemployment rate remains steady, shares plunge, News Corp profit drop: Economy roundup

This morning’s unemployment data has provided a big surprise. Despite a slowing economy, unemployment remained steady in October at 4.3%, while overall employment increased by 34,300 to 10,768,300.

This morning’s unemployment data has provided a big surprise. Despite a slowing economy, unemployment remained steady in October at 4.3%, while overall employment increased by 34,300 to 10,768,300.

While full-time employment decreased by 9200 to 7,688,200, part-time employment increased by 43,500 to 3,080,100. The participation rate increased by 0.1% to 65.3%.

Australian markets have taken a dive after a disappointing lead from Wall Street, dropping 4% in early morning trade.

By noon AEST, the benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 152.2 points or 3.51% to 4184.4. The dollar also fell, dropping 0.95% this morning to $US67 cents.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average also took a hit following Barack Obama’s electoral victory, falling 486.01 points or 5.05% to 9139.27. Oil also dropped 7% below $US66 a barrel.

News Corporation has disappointed the market this morning, reporting a 30% drop in profit for the third quarter and slashing its profit outlook. The group expects first quarter 2009 income to drop from $US732 million to $US515 million, due to lower advertising sales.

“All media companies are being tested and the year ahead will be difficult,” CEO Rupert Murdoch said in a statement. The group’s shares fell 12% after the announcement and closed at $US9.79.

Back home, global brewer Molson Coors Brewing has bought a large stake of Foster’s Group.

But Foster’s says it has not been informed, “of the precise extent of Molson Coors’ interest in the company nor their intentions with respect to that interest”. Molson has over 15,000 employees and distributes in more than 30 countries.

Meanwhile, Treasurer Wayne Swan has welcomed the outcome of the US election, saying president-elect Barack Obama has the opportunity to push global financial change.

“Barack Obama looks like someone who will bring people together. In meeting the challenge of this international financial crisis, that is sorely needed,” Swan says.

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