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MNI DATA FORECASTS: EZ Inflation, US Payrolls In Focus
MNI BRIEF: Aussie Jan Unemployment Rate Rises, Jobs Fall
Australia's unemployment rate jumped to its highest level since May as the economy shed jobs for a second month in January, offering the Reserve Bank of Australia some relief given its concerns about the risk of a wage-price spiral.
The jobless rate rose to 3.7% from 3.5% as employment fell 11,500, following on from the loss of 14,600 jobs in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. It was the first back-to-back month of job losses since 2021.
The ABS noted that along with a larger-than-usual increase in unemployed people in January, there was also a larger-than-usual rise in the number of unemployed people who had a job to go to in the future. The Australian dollar fell sharply after the data was released. (See AUD : A$ Falters Post Jobs Miss)
RBA Governor Philip Lowe told a Senate committee on Wednesday he was not "overly worried" about a wage-price spiral as wage outcomes were consistent with inflation returning to target and businesses expect to offer small wage increases next year.
"I think it's relatively low [the risk of a wage-price spiral]. If we're wrong on that the costs are very high," Lowe said. "If we saw that develop then we're going to have higher interest rates and more unemployment." (See MNI BRIEF: RBA's Lowe Says Rates Not At Peak Yet)
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