SYDNEY – Australian employment far exceeded expectations for the second straight month in June, while the unemployment rate held near 50-year lows in a sign that the labor market remained tight and pushed the local dollar higher.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that net employment increased by 32,600 in June from May, when it increased by a shocking 76,600. Market forecasts had been for an increase of 15,000.
The unemployment rate remained at a downwardly revised 3.5 percent, when analysts had expected 3.6 percent, leaving it just above last year’s October low of 3.4 percent.
The Australian dollar was up 0.8 percent at $0.6829, reversing a four-session losing streak, while three-year bond futures fell 12 ticks to 96.1.
Labor market resilience is one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia may have more work to do to bring down inflation, after raising interest rates by 400 basis points to an 11-year high of 4.1 percent in just 14 months.
Markets moved to quote a 42 percent chance the RBA would resume rising in August, compared with 35 percent before the jobs data.
Incoming RBA Governor Michele Bullock has said the unemployment rate should rise to around 4.5 percent to curb inflation.
The labor market has been defying expectations for a slowdown. Australian job ads resumed their declines in June, according to industry figures, but remained 52 percent above pre-COVID levels.
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