15/10/2015 - 11:30

Jobs fall but jobless rate steady

15/10/2015 - 11:30

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The unemployment rate in Western Australia was unchanged at 6.1 per cent in September, however it disguised a fall in employment as the number of people working fell by over 9,000 during the month.

The unemployment rate in Western Australia was unchanged at 6.1 per cent in September, however it disguised a fall in employment as the number of people working fell by over 9,000 during the month.

The national seasonally-adjusted unemployment was steady at 6.2 per cent in September, according to latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data, but the participation rate decreased 0.2 percentage points to 64.9 per cent.

WA experienced one of the largest participation rate falls out of all states and territories, down 0.6 percentage points.

The largest absolute decrease in employment occurred in WA, down 9,300 people.

JP Morgan economist Ben Jarman said the fall in job numbers was likely to be temporary, and came after several months of strong employment growth.

"Broadly, the story of a stronger than expected labour market is still playing out," he said.

"Six months ago people were fairly certain that unemployment was on an upward track to 6.5 per cent, but it just keeps hanging in the low sixes."

Annual employment growth is tracking at 2 per cent, and improved business confidence and weaker population growth should keep a lid on the unemployment rate, Mr Jarman said.

"Looking at that alone you can see why the Reserve Bank of Australia has been willing to stay on the sidelines for the past few months," he said.

ANZ economists also expect the unemployment rate to remain around 6.25 per cent for an extended period, though they said the rate of jobs growth may slow due to soft economic conditions.

"The significant support to jobs growth from the labour intensive services sector is expected to wane amid less support from housing activity and the lower currency," they said.

National Australia Bank chief economist Ivan Colhoun said unemployment rates among the states remained divergent, with South Australia's still the highest at 7.7 per cent.

But it was encouraging that jobless rates are not rising significantly in the bigger states, he said.

"On average, NSW is creating most of the jobs in Australia, but the Queensland economy has been creating more jobs as well recently," Mr Colhoun said.

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