Economy sheds 43,900 full-time jobs in December

Australia’s economy shed 43,900 full-time jobs in December in a clear signal that the economy is heading for a prolonged downturn.

Australia’s economy shed 43,900 full-time jobs in December in a clear signal that the economy is heading for a prolonged downturn.

While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased only slightly from 4.4% to 4.5%, it is the huge fall in full-time employment that will worry economists and politicians.

Full-time employment decreased to 7,640,200 during the month, while part-time employment increased by 42,800 to 3,102,200.

Unemployment increased by 2600 to 501,100, while the number of people looking for full-time work increased by the same amount, 2600, to 349,400, and the number of persons looking for part-time work remained steady at 151,700.

The participation rate (which measures the number of people in work or looking for work) decreased by 0.1% to 65%.

The announcement is broadly in line with economist predictions of a fall in total employment of 20,000, a jobless rate of 4.5% and a participation rate of 65%.

Commonwealth Bank of Australia chief economist Michael Blythe told Reuters that the data pointed to a weaking labour market.

“The headline number was stronger than the consensus view, but it’s clearly a weak result overall. The unemployment rate is starting to creep up so the slowdown in the economy has flowed through to the labour market.”

On Monday, ANZ’s job advertisement survey revealed that the number of job ads fell 9.7% in December – the biggest drop since the survey started in 1993.

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