Unemployment jump could move RBA

by Julia Corderoy08 Aug 2014
The newest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show a grim view of our labour force, with the unemployment rate hitting the highest point since August 2002. 

Australia’s unemployment rate rose by 0.3% in July, hitting a rate of 6.4%. This represents an increase of 0.7% from the same time last year.

While economists have predicted a period of steady rates from the RBA, followed by moves upward in 2015, the unemployment result altered expectations. Investors increased their bets on an RBA rate cut, The Australian Financial Review has reported, pricing in a 32% chance of a cut by Christmas.

There was an increase in full-time employment, but this was offset by a larger decrease in part-time employment – resulting in the overall decrease in total employment for the month.

This is the first time that Australia’s unemployment rate has been higher than the US since 2007, according to the Sydney Morning Herald – and it seems youth are copping it the hardest. According to ABS figures, the unemployment rate for persons aged 15-19 years is 20.4% – the highest rate since April 1997.   

Queensland had the largest spike in unemployment from June to July, increasing by five percentage points to a rate of 6.8%, but Tasmania recorded the highest level of unemployment, with a rate of 7.6%. Western Australia recorded the lowest level of unemployment, with a rate of 5.2%. New South Wales was the second lowest, with a rate of 5.9%.