Jobless rate falls, while trade and retail sales improve

Posted on 7/05/2009  

The Australian economy continues to deliver stronger-than-predicted results, with the official unemployment rate falling from 5.7% to 5.4% in April.


This follows yesterday’s release of retail sales and trade figures that were considerably better than economists’ predictions.


The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the number of people in employment increased 27,300 to 10,798,000 in April, while those unemployed fell 35,300 to 614,600. This provided a seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate of 5.4%.


Economists had predicted the jobless rate would rise from 5.7% in March to 5.9% in April.


It’s the third time in two days economists have predicted poor outcomes, only to be embarrassed by the actual numbers. The consensus among economists was a trade surplus of $1.7 billion in March, but Australia delivered a surplus of $2.45 billion; at the same the market predicted a meager 0.5% rise in retail spending in March, but the consumers provided a 2.2% rise – spending a record $19.3 billion in March.


There’s a danger in reading too  much into one month’s data – but there’s a pattern, stretching back several months, of economic data which is consistently better than the market’s forecasts.




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