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Unemployment rate falls to 3.4 per cent

Employment figures reveal robust demand for labour.

Employment figures reveal robust demand for labour. Photo: AAP

The jobless rate has dropped back to 3.4 per cent after 16,800 jobs were added to the Australian economy.

The participation rate remained at 66.6 per cent.

The October employment figures from the national statistics bureau reveal robust demand for labour, with jobs still plentiful and workers in short supply.

“With employment increasing by around 32,000 people and the number of unemployed decreasing by 21,000 people, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage point to 3.4 per cent,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, said.

The unemployment rate has been hovering near 50-year lows, dropping to 3.4 per cent in July.

The jobless rate held at 3.5 per cent in August and September, although the September figures showed signs of a labour market that had passed its tightest point.

In September, fewer jobs were added to the market than expected – just 900 for the month.

Other labour market indicators, such as SEEK job ad numbers, have also been cooling off from extreme highs.

Commonwealth Bank economists expected to see more jobs added in October – around 15,000 – and the jobless rate edging up from 3.5 per cent to 3.6 per cent.

Fierce competition for labour fed into a 3.1 per cent annual boost to wages for the 12 months to September.

But pay rises are still lagging well behind inflation, with real wages dropping a record 4.2 per cent for the year.

– AAP

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