Jobless rate held steady in October

by Julia Corderoy07 Nov 2014
The unemployment rate has held steady at 6.2% in October as 24,000 jobs were added, according to the official figures.

The October result is based on revised September figures after the Australian Bureau of Statistics was forced to adjust its seasonal adjustment figures in light of recent survey changes. The revision saw September’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate rise from 6.1% to 6.2%.

However, Craig James, chief economist at CommSec, says due to the volatility in the seasonally adjusted figures, the best approach is still to focus on the trend estimates and then view the data against the backdrop of other statistical and survey evidence on the economy.

In trend terms, jobs are rising by around 2,000 a month with unemployment at 6.2%. But recent jobs advertisement data released by ANZ suggests there may be a turnaround in the labour market. The data revealed that job advertisements increased 0.2% over October, rising for the fifth consecutive month.

Although, James says the Reserve Bank is likely to err on the side of caution for now.

“It is clear that the job market has been soft, largely because Australian companies have taken a very conservative approach to spending, investing and hiring new staff. Recent data on job ads as well as new lending commitments provide hope that companies are getting back to business. But the jobless rate probably will continue to hover near 6% until we are well into the 2015 year.

“The lift in employment in October is encouraging but it is only one month’s data. The Reserve Bank wouldn’t be swayed either way by the latest figures. The job market still appears soft, but the outlook is more favourable.”