Economists expect slight rise in unemployment

Unemployment figures due out today are expected to show the jobless rate rose slightly in November.

Most economists surveyed by Bloomberg expect the jobless rate to edge up to 5.5 per cent, from 5.4 per cent in October.

Economists also expect the data to show that job creation was flat in November.

Experts say the economy is not growing fast enough as the mining sector slows.

Barclays chief economist Kieran Davies says the mining sector employs a relatively small number of people.

He says other sectors are not creating enough jobs to keep up with population growth.

"On a number of measures you can see that the labour market's weakened over the course of this year," he said.

"Companies are less inclined to put new staff on.

You see that in the drop in job ads that's happened over recent months.

"And even if you look at the government figures on the number of people who are on unemployment benefits, they've been steadily rising over recent months.

"Job creation outside of mining has also slowed and that's consistent with the edging up in the unemployment rate that we're seeing.

"So with the economy not growing fast enough outside of mining, the downside to that is that we're just seeing a weaker labour market." Mr Davies expects the workforce participation rate to remain lower, as young people who have been unable to find a job give up looking for work.

"Younger workers are just deciding not to look for work and that explains the drop in the participation rate," he said.

"I just take that as the discouraged-worker effect."

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