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4,000 jobs added as unemployment hits 48-year low

·Personal Finance Editor
·2-min read
Jobs data: People crossing a busy street in the Sydney CBD.
The jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level since May 1974. (Source: Getty)

Australia’s unemployment rate has fallen to 3.9 per cent, its lowest level since May 1974, after 4,000 jobs were added in April.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that employment rose by 4,000 people and unemployment fell by 11,000.

This could mean that 11,000 people have stopped looking for work and therefore are not included in the unemployment numbers.

“3.9 per cent is the lowest the unemployment rate has been in the monthly survey,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.

“The last time the unemployment rate was lower than this was in August 1974, when the survey was quarterly.”

The unemployment rate for males fell by 0.2 percentage points to 4 per cent, its lowest level since October 2008.

For females, it remained at 3.7 per cent for a second month, which is the lowest it has been since May 1974.

The participation rate also decreased in April, down by 0.1 percentage points to 66.3 per cent, but remained close to the historical highs seen in February and March.

Wages rise, but not enough

This all comes after yesterday’s wages data, which showed 0.7 per cent growth last month, bringing annual wage growth to 2.4 per cent.

However, last month's inflation data showed the cost of living rose 5.1 per cent - well above the rise in wages.

A low unemployment rate has, in the past, led to higher wages as a result of employers wanting to attract workers in a tight market.

However, wages have not kept up with the rise in demand or the rising cost of living.

“The annual pace of wages growth is very modest considering the tightness in the labour market,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia head of Australian economics Gareth Aird said.

“The upshot is that whilst wages growth across the economy is moving higher and some people are receiving large pay rises, there is not broad-based wages pressures.

“Indeed, real wages growth - as measured by headline inflation deflated by the wage price index - is deeply negative.”

The data drops have come at a pivotal time, with Aussies heading to the polls on Saturday for the federal election.

Cost of living has been a constant talking point in each party's campaigning.

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