The Australian employment data showed that the job market weakened in April after making two months of gains previously. The country’s employment fell by 2,900 jobs, missing the projected 5000 job increase by a significant amount. The unemployment percentage ticked up 0.1 per cent to 6.2 per cent. The data released on Thursday also showed a fall of 21,900 in full-time employment and a 19,000 increase in part-time employment. The March employment figures were revised to a gain of 48,200 jobs, following the 38,000 job gains in February. Australia’s participation rate was unchanged in April at 64.8 per cent. The Australian dollar initially fell on the release on the data, but later recovered back to around $0.7960.
Earlier in the week, the Reserve Bank of Australia cut the interest rate to a record low of 2 per cent to help fight off currency’s gains. The RBA also said the cut was a response to the slow pace of investments shifting from the embattled mining sector to other sectors. Aberdeen Asset Management Senior Investment Manager David Choi said the data “supports the RBA’s decision this week to reduce the cash rate. It points to the continued fragility of the Australian economy. We expect the RBA to cut rates further to boost consumption, in the medium term.” ANZ researcher Riki Polygenis reiterated the same sentiment following the release of the unemployment data. “Today's figures do little to alter our expectation that the unemployment rate will gradually inch higher through the year, consistent with forecasts for below-trend growth. This will continue to drive soft growth in wages and household income,” he said.