Against most expectations the March jobs data released by the ABS this morning has come in very strongly. The unemployment rate remains at 5.2% (although it has actually fallen from 5.23% in Feb to just 5.19% in March); the markets had been expecting this to increase to 5.3%. The Participation Rate has also ticked somewhat higher (to 65.4 from 65.2) reversing a weaker trend since late 2011.
There were a total of 44,000 new jobs created in the month (15,800 of them full-time) for a total of 76,700 new jobs this year.
The A$ reacted strongly to the release and has regained almost 0.50 cents of recent loses (moving from US$1.03 to US$1.035). Interest rate futures markets have also reacted to the news and the chances of a cut in the Cash Rate in May has fallen (although a 25bps cut still looks possible there had been much talk of a full 50bps cut; this now looks highly unlikely barring a surprise in the Q1 CPI data to be released later this month).
In QLD the story was a similar one, although the headline rate also fell to 5.5% (from 5.7%). A total of 7,900 new jobs were created, with 9,900 new full time positions. The Participation Rate remained unchanged at 67.0. Data for FNQ will be released next week.