Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped in August, giving a boost to the country’s currency, though analysts said the data actually point to softness in the labor market.
The country’s jobless rate decreased 0.1 percentage point to 5.1% in August, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported Thursday.
Economists had been expecting the jobless rate to hit 5.3% in the month, according to a Dow Jones Newswires survey.
However, the easing came as the participation rate declined to to 65.0% during the month, down from 65.2%, the statistics body said.
The number of employed decreased by 8,800 to 11.5 million, and the number of unemployed decreased by 10,600 people to 622,600.
“The only reason the unemployment rate has gone down rather than up over the last year is that the labor force participation rate has fallen,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.
“People have given up looking for work in the face of anecdotes of softness in the jobs market,” he said…