Employment numbers stun economists
By Brian Fallow
4:00 AM Friday May 7, 2010

Economists used words like "amazing" and "stunning" to describe the March quarter jobs data released yesterday.

It is the steepest quarterly drop in both the number of unemployed (down 25,000 to 140,000) and in the unemployment rate (down from 7.1 to 6 per cent) in the 24 years for which comparable statistics have been compiled.

The decline more than reverses the unusually steep rise in unemployment recorded in the December quarter.

But it still leaves the unemployment rate well above its level a year ago (5.1 per cent) or two years ago (3.9 per cent.)

The markets reacted by pushing up wholesale interest rates - a June start to the Reserve Bank's expected series of official cash rate increases is now fully priced in - and the dollar.

More here.