Australian employment surged by almost 40,000 in May, despite the forecasts of a 5,000 fall due to the global downturn. An unexpectedly 15,500 jobs were added in April following a 37,600 expansion in the previous month.
The increase is caused by the rise in business investments paired with the increase in private sector activity. “It does seem an extraordinary set of numbers,” said Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank.“The economy is probably in better shape than we are all willing to admit.”
Figures do show some job loses in manufacturing, retail, real estate and construction, which are likely caused by a strong Australian dollar and a more cost-conscious consumer. However, hiring is strong in healthcare, mining, finance and the public sector, with a surge in hiring with resource companies caused by several massive liquefied natural gas projects.
Treasurer Wayne Swan said, “At 5.1 per cent, Australia’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the developed world, well below the United States and less than half that in Europe,”
The current Australian unemployment rate is 5.1 per cent,compared with 14.7 per cent in Ireland, 7.3 per cent in Canada and 8.2 per cent in the United States. The figures also show that the Australian economy grew faster than was generally expected in the first quarter of the year.