Australia’s Jobs Gain Defies Bearish Mood

Australian employers boosted payrolls in November and December by the most in any two-month period in the past eight years, reducing pressure on the central bank to cut already record-low interest rates.

The number of people employed advanced by 37,400 in December following a revised 45,000 increase in November, making the biggest two-month gain since December 2006, according to data calculated by Bloomberg based on official figures. The jobless rate dropped to 6.1 percent in December from 6.2 percent the previous month, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today, lower than a median estimate of 6.3 percent.

The Reserve Bank of Australia has kept its benchmark rate at 2.5 percent for 17 months to help foster a transition to domestic drivers of growth and boost hiring as a resource investment boom wanes. Policy makers have been waiting for low rates to spur the economy beyond the surging housing market.

Bloomberg

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