Unemployment hits 5.7 percent

Australia's unemployment rate hits 5.7 percent with more than 25,000 jobs axed over May

Australia’s unemployment rate has hit 5.7 percent, according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Official labour force data shows more than 25,000
full-time jobs were axed
over the May period.

In seasonally adjusted terms, employment decreased by 1,700 to
just over
10 million last month.

Full-time employment dropped 26,200 to just over 7.5 million, while part-time employment increased by 24,500 to more than 3 million.

Unemployment increased by 27,200 to 651,000, as the number of people looking for full-time work soared by 30,000 to 482,600.

The male unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 5 percent, while female unemployment jumped 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 percent.

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union Secretary, Dave Oliver, says a further 26,000 workers becoming unemployed over the last month is disappointing.

"Whilst these figures are concerning, it is clear that the Rudd Government’s early action in the form of stimulus packages and infrastructure projects has softened the impact somewhat," Oliver says.

"In this environment of global economic crisis, unemployment figures are expected to get worse, however we can continue to attempt to mitigate the impact by ensuring that infrastructure projects maximise local content," he says.

Oliver insists the government should be targeting infrastructure spending to regional areas experiencing high levels of unemployment.

"Going forward, we need a strong emphasis on training and skills development so that when we come out of this economic downturn, we will maintain a highly skilled workforce as part of the response to economic instability and the skills shortage seen in the past."

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