13 May 2011

Job numbers drop in Australia

6:08 am on 13 May 2011

There was a shock drop in job creation in Australia last month. But the unemployment rate remains steady at 4.9%.

The ABC reports employment fell by 22,100 in April, with a steep fall in full-time jobs driving the decline.

Figures from the Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed 49,100 full-time jobs were lost in April, seasonally adjusted, although the unemployment rate remained at 4.9% as some people gave up looking for work.

The ABC reports the participation rate (the proportion of people in employment or looking for a job) fell from 65.8% to 65.6%.

Part-time work also helped offset the fall in full-time jobs, rising by 26,900 compared to the previous month.

The total time worked by Australians in April was estimated to have fallen by 14.7 million hours to just over 1.6 billion hours.

Economists say the fall reflects volatility in the employment figures.

The ABC reports the Australian dollar fell from 106.94 US cents immediately before the figures were issued, to 106.08 US cents.

The currency later dropped as low as 105.85 US cents, but recovered to 106.05 by 11:58am (AEST).