Unemployment steady at 5.4% instead of expected rise: Midday roundup

Unemployment in Australia was steady in October, coming in better than analyst expectations, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The ABS recorded the total number of jobs in Australia increasing by 10,700 to 11,523,200 in the month.

Analysts had expected the figures to show a total rise of 5,000 jobs in the month.

However, the rise in jobs was offset by a decrease in the total number of employed individuals, which fell by 8,800 to 653,200.

The result sees the unemployment rate hold steady at 5.4%, where it was in September.

Analysts had expected the rate to rise to 5.5%.

Full-time employment rose by 18,700 to 8,130,100 in September, while part-time employment was down 8,000 to 3,393,100.

Shares open flat after weak offshore lead

The Australian sharemarket has opened lower this morning, following a disappointing lead from the United States where markets reacted negatively to Barack Obama’s re-election.

The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index was down 33 points or 0.8% to 4,482.8 at 12.00 AEST, while in the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 313 points or 2.4% to 12,932.7

Greece passes austerity bill

The Greek parliament has passed an austerity bill that will help the country access bailout funds, despite thousands of protestors marching against the changes.

”Today, here, we have to put a stamp on Greek credibility,” Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said in a statement. ”We decide if we want to stabilise Greece or to end up outside the euro and return to the drachma. We decide whether we want to exit the crisis united.”

The bill comes as European leaders are waiting to see if Greece is serious about passing financial reform in order to access funds from the IMF and EU.

James Strong appointed new chairman of the Australian Institute of Company Directors

The Australian Institute of Company Directors announced the appointment of James Strong as chairman at its annual general meeting held yesterday.

Strong is the chairman of Woolworths and succeeds Richard Lee who retired at the AGM having completed his three-year term as chairman.

“I’m excited about the prospect of continuing to build our reputation, our effectiveness as the voice of directors in Australia and the professional standing of our members,” Strong said.

“We recognise that the community and shareholders have heightened expectations of directors and boards and I’m looking forward to leading the organisation as it helps new and experienced directors navigate the complex world of directorship, including through their own professional development.”

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