Australian Jobless Rate Jumps to 6.4%

Australian unemployment climbed to a 12 1/2-year high, sending the currency lower and underscoring last week’s decision to cut interest rates to a fresh record low.

The jobless rate rose to 6.4 percent from 6.1 percent, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. That was the worst since August 2002 and exceeded the median estimate of 6.2 percent from a survey of 27 economists. The number of people employed fell by 12,200, led by declines in eastern states.

The Reserve Bank of Australia unexpectedly ended a 17-month pause and cut rates this month to support an economy that’s on track to expand below its potential for six of the past seven years. Its efforts to revive business confidence and encourage investment and hiring outside the mining industry have been hampered by renewed government infighting.

Bloomberg

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