More people looking for work: Economy round-up

A boost in the number new job seekers by more than 20,000 caused Australia’s unemployment rate to lift to 4.5% in November.

Although more than 52,000 people got jobs in November – well above market expectations of a 20,000 boost – the increase in the participation rate from 65% to 65.3% caused the unemployment rate to lift.

Also significant is the fact that the overwhelming majority of the new jobs created were part-time, with only 8000 people moving into new full-time jobs.

The higher than expected number of jobs created reflects a generally buoyant consumer sentiment in the economy.

Access Economics forecasts that retail spending is likely to pick up over Christmas and the new year. Access predicts retail revenue growth is likely to top 5.4% in the 2007-08 year before coming back to 3.3% in 2008-09.

And Australian consumer confidence is at record levels, according to a MasterCard survey released today. Compared to this time last year, consumer sentiment towards employment increasing from 54% and the economy up 71%, the report says.

And all that, of course, means inflation remains a worry. The Melbourne Institute Consumer Inflationary Expectations survey shows that although the median expected inflation level 0.3% in December, it remains at 4.1%, well above the Reserve Bank of Australia’s target band of 2% to 3%.

On the markets today, the S&P/ASX200 is down 0.1% on yesterday’s close to 6610.3 and the Australian dollar is trading at US88.50c, up on yesterday’s US97.71c close.


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