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Job surge shows strength but Australia's unemployment rate is climbing

18 January 2018

The stubbornly low rate of growth for wages threatens to undermine half-a-century of belief in the Phillips Curve, which suggests higher employment must eventually lead to higher wages, and is continuing to frustrate both the Turnbull government and the Reserve Bank.

The national unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in December.

That's a record for December and matches the lowest rate on record.

A steady pick-up in business sentiment has helped an acceleration in job creation over the previous year.

That includes an increase in the number of full- and part-time positions. Overall, 25,000 Australians secured employment.

In seasonally adjusted terms, December brought Australians 35,000 new jobs, which exceeded the 15,000 increase economists forecast.

The state unemployment rate dropped slightly in the final month of 2017, falling by one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.5 percent despite a loss of 500 jobs, state officials announced Thursday.

In the past 12 months, more than 400,000 new jobs have been added.

More people were looking for work, lifting the participation rate to 65.7 per cent, a seven-year high.

Full-time employment has grown by 303,400 in the past 12 months (and by 15,100 in December).

For women aged 55 and over, employment rose 6.3 per cent in 2017 while their population increased 2.8 per cent.

Camera IconPrime Minister Malcolm Turnbull in Geelong this week, the region is the first to get funding under the federal government's $220 million Regional Jobs and Investment pilot program.

Breaking down the results, Queensland and the ACT saw the strongest jobs growth, up 4.6 per cent over the year, followed by NSW at 3.5 per cent.

All states and territories recorded a decrease in their trend unemployment rates over the year with the exception of the Northern Territory, which increased 1.6 percentage points.

Job surge shows strength but Australia's unemployment rate is climbing