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Unemployment expected to rise to 5.9%

Melbourne, AAP – The jobs market is expected to have weakened in December, after enjoying the best two months of employment growth in almost 28 years.

The number of Australians with a job is forecast to have fallen by 5,000 in December, and the unemployment rate is expected to have risen to 5.9 per cent, according to an AAP survey of 12 economists.

In November, jobs growth was 71,400, after a 56,000 rise in October, the strongest two-month period of employment growth since the 1980s.

That sent the unemployment rate to its lowest level in almost two years, to 5.8 per cent in November.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its December employment report on Thursday.

JP Morgan chief economist Stephen Walters said the November figures were exaggerated by the ABS survey methods but added that the employment market is still strong.

‘Recent labour force surveys have looked too good to be true,’ Mr Walters said.

‘Although we have become increasingly optimistic on the labour market outlook, given the upbeat signals from job ads, business surveys and government welfare data, the official data still appear too firm relative to gross domestic product growth.’


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