Higher Unemployment But More Jobs

Bill Pugliano  Getty Images Australian employment growth has slowed rapidly this year

Australia's jobless rate has edged up to 5.6 per cent despite another 22,600 jobs being added in April.

There was a 32,700 lift in full-time workers across the country, partially offset by a 10,000 fall in part-time employment.

While the ABS employment data has softened in recent months, and the unemployment rate has been broadly unchanged for around a year, NAB believes the employment index, and survey leading indicators of labour market conditions all point to this being a temporary phenomenon.

The unemployment rate for April has risen slightly to 5.6 per cent, because more people are in the market actively looking for work, confident they will find a job.

Nationally, the jobless rate was steady at 5.6 per cent despite some positive signs in the jobs market.

Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased 19.4 million hours (1.11%) to 1,764.0 million hours.

BIS Oxford Economics head of macroeconomics Sarah Hunter said slower job creation was not a surprise.

"But such a sharp slowdown is an indication that jobs growth jumped the gun on output growth previous year".

The March figure had prompted concerns about the state of the WA economy. The underutilisation rate, which includes the unemployed and those who want to work more hours, is close to 14 percent compared to 8 in the United States.

Unemployment increased 10,600 to 741,000.

Australia's youth unemployment rate rose 0.2 per cent, on a seasonally adjusted basis, to 12.6 per cent.

"The labour force participation rate was the highest it has been since the series began in 1978, indicating increasing attachment to the labour force", the Chief Economist for the ABS, Bruce Hockman, said.

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