Australia’s strong economic performance since the start of the year has failed to increase the number of people in work.
The number of people in the workforce fell by 4,800 in May, figures released on Thursday showed, when economists were expecting an increase of 10,000.
Although the number of full-time workers rose 22,200, it was offset by a 27,000 drop in the number of part-time workers.
The unemployment rate also remained at 5.8% for a third month in a row.
Treasurer Joe Hockey dismissed suggestions that more than 100,000 full-time jobs were created since the turn of the year due to Labor leaving the economy in good nick, noting the former government left office with a forecast of a 6.25% unemployment rate.
“It quite clearly appears that we have turned around the trajectory,” Mr Hockey told reporters in Darwin.
However, AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver says while the jobless rate has held for three months, it “significantly understates” the current weakness in the job market. He said the participation rate – which includes those in work, looking for work and ready to start work – has continued to fall and dropped to 64.6% in May.
“If the participation rate had remained at its 2011 average level the unemployment rate would now be seven per cent,” Oliver said.
via The Guardian