Australia Employment Unexpectedly Drops, Reinforcing Rate Pause Bets

Australia employment unexpectedly dipped in April after two months of outsized gains, and the jobless rate also ticked up in a sign the red-hot labour market might be cooling, bolstering the case for a pause in interest rate hikes next month, Reuters reported. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics released on Thursday showed net employment fell by 4,300 in April from March, when it rebounded by a revised 61,100. Market forecasts had been for a rise of 25,000. The jobless rate ticked up to a three-month high of 3.7% from a near 50-year low of 3.5%, when analysts had expected no change. Hours worked, however, increased 2.6% in the month. The local dollar eased 0.4% to $0.6630. Three-year bond futures reversed earlier declines to be flat at 96.88. Markets reinforced bets of a rate pause next month but were pricing in some risk of a move in August or September. Full-time employment fell by 27,100 in April after a surge of 72,200 the previous month. The participation rate held near record levels at 66.7%, suggesting the supply of labour was rising to meet demand, thanks to more migrants entering the workforce. Read more.