Australia’s unemployment rate rises to a surprise 3.7 per cent as fewer workers hired

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Australia’s unemployment rate has risen to 3.7 per cent after an estimated 4,300 jobs were lost last month, according to official estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Economists were generally expecting the unemployment rate to remain steady at 3.5 per cent, with the creation of 25,000 jobs.

However, the number of officially unemployed people rose in April, by 18,000, and the participation rate decreased slightly, by 0.1 percentage points, to 66.7 per cent.

The employment-to-population ratio also slipped, by 0.2 percentage points, to 64.2 per cent.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the small fall in employment last month followed an average monthly increase of 39,000 jobs in the first three months of the year.

And, he said, despite the small fall in employment, the monthly hours worked increased a little in April, by 2.6 per cent.

“This was because fewer people than usual worked reduced hours over the Easter period,” Mr Jarvis said.

“This may reflect more people taking their leave earlier or later than usual, or that some people were unable to, given the high number of vacancies that we’re still seeing employers reporting.”

More to come.

By business reporters Gareth Hutchens and Nassim Khadem (Original ABC Article)