Slight rise likely when latest Oz jobless data posted

Employers are continuing to put on staff but not enough to match the increase in the available labour force. Photo / Getty Images
Employers are continuing to put on staff but not enough to match the increase in the available labour force. Photo / Getty Images

Australia's unemployment rate is likely to post a slight rise in August, with employers continuing to put on staff but not enough to match the increase in the available labour force.

The median expectation is for unemployment to rise to 5.3 per cent, from 5.2 per cent in July, and an increase of 5000 in total jobs, an AAP survey of 16 economists shows.

The official figures this week are also expected to show the participation rate steady at 65.2 per cent.

CMC chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the job figures were likely to show no notable rise in unemployment or the participation rate, although some jobs would have been added to the economy.

"While there are areas of real softness in the Australian economy, those areas have been grabbing the headlines.

"Away from the spotlight, a lot of businesses around Australia have just been getting on with it," Mr McCarthy said. "After all the doom and gloom we've heard about retail spending, we've seen a boom in revenue and a boom in profit.

"It suggests that bad news stories are winning the news cycle, but they're not showing up in the numbers."

NAB senior economist Spiros Papadopolous said he expected a modest rise in total employment for August although it would not match the more impressive numbers seen in the first half of 2012.

"We've seen a softness come through in the last couple of months," he said.

"After we saw the 14,000 rise in July, we should see another small gain in August.

"It reflects that there's still jobs growth out there, but it's obviously moderated from the much stronger growth that we saw earlier in the year."

AMP senior economist Bob Cuneen said he expected the job numbers to come in on the negative side.

"I think we're still in a soft patch for the non-mining economy," he said.

"We've had some really good employment data, but the anecdotal evidence suggests a sluggish labour market with a few significant job loss announcements this year."

The Australian Bureau of Statistics will publish its August labour force data on Thursday.

- AAP

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