ACT loses 'lowest unemployment rate' title
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ACT loses 'lowest unemployment rate' title

The ACT no longer has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, giving way to the commodity fuelled Western Australian economy.

New figures issued by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today show the ACT's unemployment rate lifted by 0.1 point to 3.7 per cent in trend terms in July.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian says recent figures show the national labour market is healthy "without shooting the lights out".

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian says recent figures show the national labour market is healthy "without shooting the lights out".

Western Australia's unemployment rate was 3.6 per cent in trend and seasonally adjusted terms for the month.

The national jobless rate was a seasonally adjusted 5.2 per cent. This is the same as reported a month ago, however, the bureau has revised that June result up to 5.3 per cent.

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"The number of people employed increased by 14,000 to 11,512,600 in July. The increase in employment was driven by increased full-time employment, up 9200 people to 8,073,700, and part-time employment, up 4800 people to 3,439,000. The increase in employment was driven by an increase in male and female full-time and female part-time employment," the bureau said.

"The number of people unemployed decreased by 2500 people to 635,100 in July."

There were 8000 people listed as unemployed in the ACT in July, up 100 from June, but the number of employed people also rose by 400, to 209,100. The figures indicated there was a slight fall in part-time jobs, as full-time positions were up 500 to 155,600.

Canberra's women continue to enjoy a lower unemployment rate than the city's men, at 3.4 per cent to 4.6 per cent respectively. The male rate was up 0.1 point on June.

The last time another jurisdiction had a lower trend unemployment rate than the ACT was June last year, when the Northern Territory's rate was 3.8 per cent compared with the ACT's 4 per cent – which was the equal highest it had been since October 2003.

Westpac economists said the national unemployment rate for June had been revised up from 5.2 per cent to 5.25 per cent (and rounded up to 5.3 per cent).

"However, given that our starting point was the 5.2 per cent unemployment rate as originally expected for June, there has been a modest increase from 5.2 per cent to 5.23 per cent. If ever there was a 'neutral' jobs report, then this surely is one, and it certainly would be inappropriate to read the headline fall in the unemployment rate from 5.3 per cent to 5.2 per cent as some indication of a turning point, given that 5.3 per cent has been the high in recent times," they said.

CommSec economist Savanth Sebastian said the figures showed the labour market was healthy "without shooting the lights out".

"Yes, it was encouraging that employment grew but more forward looking indicators like job advertisements have suggested that further labour market gains may be more circumspect. In fact internet and newspaper job advertisements have fallen for four consecutive months, suggesting job gains will be less robust in the next few months," he said.

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