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Unemployment rate drops to 4.9 percent

Unemployment has fallen to its lowest level in 12 months, dipping below 5 percent as a result of 15,500 additional jobs being added to the local economy.

The seasonally adjusted rate fell by 0.2 percent, with unemployment sitting well below the 5.5 percent forecasted by the Federal Government for 2012/13 in the budget this week. Dow Jones economists were expecting unemployment to sit around 5.3 percent for April, according to MarketWatch.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the fall in the number of people in full-time employment was offset by a sharp rise in the number of people part-time employed – up 26,000.

The figures show 11.5 million people were employed in April, with the number of unemployed decreasing by 28,800 to 598,200 people.

Minister for Employment Bill Shorten welcomed the news, but said it shouldn’t distract from the knowledge that many people around the country continue to struggle

“Whilst economic unemployment numbers are volatile and we’ve been expending them to increase … I think it highlights the importance of spreading the mining boom,” he said, according to the ABC.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the figure should be seen as an achievement.

“I am delighted that today’s unemployment rate has fallen to 4.9 per cent in April, an achievement for the Australian nation so soon after the global financial crisis,” she said.