Australia Jobless Rate Sinks To 5.6% In March

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The unemployment rate in Australia was a seasonally adjusted 5.6 percent in March, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

That was lower than expectations for 5.7 percent and down from 5.8 percent in February.

The Australian economy added 70,700 jobs last month to 13,077,600 - far surpassing forecasts for the addition of 35,000 jobs following the increase of 88,700 jobs in February.

Full-time employment saw a decline of 20,800 jobs to 8,874,200 people following the addition of 89,100 jobs a month earlier. Part-time employment surged by 91,500 to 4,203,400 people following the loss of 500 jobs in February.

Over the year to March, employment increased by 74,300 people of 0.6 percent. Full-time employment fell by 2,500 people and part-time employment jumped by 76,800 people.

The participation rate came in at 66.3 percent - again topping expectations for 66.1 percent, which would have been unchanged from the previous month. The rate decreased less than 0.1 percentage point for men to 70.9 percent and increased by 0.4 percentage points for women to 61.8 percent.

Monthly hours worked in all jobs increased by 38 million hours (2.2 percent) to 1,800 million hours above the revised February 1,762 million hours. Hours worked also increased by 1.2 percent on year.

The underemployment rate decreased by 0.6 percentage points to 7.9 percent (0.9 percentage points lower than a year ago) and the underutilization rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 13.5 percent.

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