Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly climbed in July to the highest since August 2002 as joblessness increased along the nation’s eastern seaboard, increasing the likelihood interest rates will remain at a record low for an extended period. The Australian dollar fell.
The jobless rate rose to 6.4 percent from 6 percent, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today, versus the median estimate for unemployment to hold steady in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The number of people employed fell by 300.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has flagged a period of rates stability after reducing the benchmark to a record-low 2.5 percent last year as it seeks to avoid a growth gap emerging as mining investment wanes. Government plans to cut spending and increase charges have weighed on consumer sentiment and the currency’s strength has weighed on the economy’s transition.