11 August 2006

Unemployment in Australia at 30 year low

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Unemployment in Australia dropped to 4.8 percent last month, its lowest rate for 30 years.

The latest labor force figures showed a 50,000 increase in the number of people working in July, compared to the previous month, while the jobless total fell by 14,100 to nearly 514,000.

The new figures took share markets by surprise and economists repeated predictions another hike in interest rates was likely within the next three months, perhaps as early as September. The reserve Bank of Australia raised the official interest rate by 0.25 percent just last week.

Government leaders were quick to use the latest data to attack the Labor Party's opposition to new changes in industrial relations laws.

"There is no better financial indicator in this economy that people who want a job can get a job," Prime Minister John Howard said.

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