Jobless rate falls to three-month low
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CANBERRA, Sept 6 AAP
September 06 2012, 1:35PM
The jobless rate unexpectedly dropped to a three-month low of 5.1 per cent in August, justifying the central bank's decision this week to leave official interest rates unchanged.
Economists had expected the unemployment rate to tick up to 5.3 per cent, after its surprise retreat to 5.2 per cent in July.
The fall in unemployment came despite a decline of 8800 in the total number of people in work in August, and when economists had expected a modest 5000 rise.
However, 600 full-time jobs were created in the month, Australian Bureau of Statistics data shows.
Employment Minister Bill Shorten said despite a slip in the participation rate to 65 per cent, from 65.2 per cent, Australia still ranked sixth in the world for the number of people seeking work.
"Despite a softening labour market, we are still doing better than most of the world," he told reporters in Brisbane on Thursday.
The decline in the jobless rate was the result of a sharp drop in unemployed people in the nation's largest state, NSW.
The rate there dropped to 4.8 per cent from 5.2 per cent.
Elsewhere, state unemployment rates increased.
In Victoria it rose to 5.6 per cent in August from 5.4 per cent, in Queensland it increased to 5.9 per cent from 5.8 per cent and in South Australia it was up to 5.7 per cent from 5.4 per cent.
In Western Australia it rose to 3.9 per cent from 3.7 per cent, while in Tasmania it increased to 6.8 per cent from 6.5 per cent.
The jobless rates in the Northern Territory and the ACT were unchanged from the previous month at 4.2 per cent and 3.6 per cent respectively.