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--Record Growth Streak Creates Over 400,000 Jobs For First Time
By Sophia Rodrigues
     SYDNEY (MNI) - Australia's labor market established a number of multi-year
records in November, creating in excess of 400,000 jobs in a record streak of 14
months of uninterrupted job gains that saw the participation rate at a more than
six-year high, the employment-to-population ratio at over a five-year high, and
the labor underutilization rate at near a four-year low.
     The data remove much of the downside risk to the Reserve Bank of
Australia's monetary policy, though the policy outlook still remains largely
dependent on jobs growth translating to acceleration in wage inflation and from
there to overall inflation.
     Data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics Thursday show the
economy created 61,600 jobs in November, the largest gain during the 14 months
of uninterrupted jobs growth and the most since October 2015. The outcome was
sharply higher than MNI survey median forecast and well outside the range
predicted by economists in the poll.
     The unemployment rate, however, remained unchanged at 5.4% as the labor
participation rate rose to 65.5%, the highest since September 2011. 
     The data were  strong on all counts, including on underemployment and labor
utilization, which are released at three-month intervals. Those data show the
underemployment rate fell to 8.3% from 8.5% in August, the lowest since May
2016, and the underutilization rate fell to 13.7% from 14.0%, the lowest since
February 2014. 
     In the past year, employment has grown 3.2%, with a year-on-year jobs gain
of 390,600, an average of 32,500 per month. The total jobs growth during the
14-month streak was 439,800, surpassing the previous record of 368,400 during a
12-month stretch in 1989.
     An overwhelming majority of the employment gains in the past year came from
full-time jobs, which rose 304,700, or an average of 25,400 per month. Part-time
jobs rose 78,700 during the period, an average of 6,500 per month.
     Hours worked rose 9.8 million hours to 1,741 million hours.  
--MNI Sydney Bureau; tel: +61 2-9716-5467; email:
[TOPICS: MALDS$,MMLRB$,M$A$$$,M$L$$$,MT$$$$]