Unemployment rate increases

AUSTRALIA'S unemployment rate dropped 0.1% to 5.1% in August, surprising economists who had tipped a slight increase.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the number of people employed across Australia fell by 8800 people to 11,498,100, with a drop of 9300 in part-time employment the chief driver.

Full-time employment enjoyed a modest increase of 600 positions.

A tick over 10,000 fewer people were unemployed in August, taking the number to 622,600.

In New South Wales, the unemployment rate fell 0.4% to 4.5%, while in Queensland it was up 0.1% to 5.6%.

The drop in the unemployment rate capped another good week on the economic front for the Federal Government.

Figures released by the ABS showed Australia's economy grew by 0.6% in the June quarter.

Treasurer Wayne Swan was quick to point out Australia's economy had experienced 21 continuous years of growth, a result he described as "stunning".

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank left the cash rate on hold at 3.5%.


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