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Unemployment rises, but so do jobs

Australia’s labour force has hit the 11 million-employee mark, driving the first rise in unemployment in eight months. The jobless rate, released yesterday, rose to 4.3 percent with the corresponding number of people now in work or looking for work at 11,012,300.

However, almost 13,000 jobs came onto the employment market last month, most of them full time positions. The Australian Bureau of Statistics counts a person as participating in full time employment if they normally work a 35-hour week or more, or did in the week surveyed.

Minister for Workplace Relations, Joe Hockey said it was a sign of a strong economy. Campaigning in Darwin yesterday, Hockey pointed out its low unemployment rate. "If you are looking for a job and you can't find one, come to Darwin—1.9 percent unemployment and there is a shortage of labour," he said.

Taking into account the recent rate rise, Professor Mark Wooden from the Melbourne Institute speculated that the work force might have increased due to financial pressure, such as stay-at-home mums returning to work to help pay the mortgage.

Economists suggested that wage pressures could increase the likelihood of another rate rise before Christmas but hedged that higher unemployment may alleviate concern.

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