Unemployment hits its highest level in a decade
By Brian Fallow
4:00 AM Friday Feb 5, 2010

The unemployment rate has jumped to 7.3 per cent, the highest in 10 years, but this time it reflects a lot more people looking for work rather than a lot fewer jobs.

It is up sharply from 6.5 per cent in September.

The economy needed to create about 10,000 more jobs in the past three months of 2009 just to keep pace with a growing population of working-age people, in part the result of fewer moving to Australia. The supply of workers has also been boosted by people previously outside the labour force joining the ranks of job seekers.

Employment fell by 2000. That is better than the 17,000 jobs lost in the September quarter or the 24,000 lost in the March quarter, and some economists believe it will be the last quarter in which employment falls.

But if the number of job seekers continues to outpace the growth in jobs the unemployment rate has yet to peak, especially as firms are expected to increase workers' hours before they take on more staff.

More here.