Australian Unemployment Rate Unexpectedly Drops to 6.1%

Australia’s jobless rate unexpectedly fell in March, spurring a jump in the local dollar on optimism the central bank’s effort to shore up the economy with record-low interest rates is paying off.

Unemployment dropped to 6.1 percent from a revised 6.2 percent in February, as the number of people employed rose 37,700, the statistics bureau said in Sydney on Thursday.

The currency extended gains as traders pared bets on the scale of rate cuts, after the report reinforced data showing improved business confidence in March. The Reserve Bank of Australia kept borrowing costs at 2.25 percent last week, after cutting in February, as it seeks to encourage spending by consumers and companies to offset falling mining investment.