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Against expectations, Australian employment rose by 5.9k in March and monthly hours worked recorded the largest increase in over a year, economists at ANZ Bank apprise.

Key quotes

“Employment rose by 5.9k in March, with a 6.4k rise in part-time employment offsetting a 0.4k fall in full-time employment. Monthly aggregate hours worked recorded the largest increase in over a year of 0.5% m/m.”

“The unemployment rate rose by 0.1ppt to 5.2%. Underemployment also rose by 0.1ppt to an almost three-year high of 8.8%, which saw underutilisation hit 14% for the first time in almost two years. Participation was steady at 66.0%.”

“The ABS reported ‘some small early impact’ from COVID-19 but noted that ‘any impact from the major COVID-19 related actions will be evident in the April data’. This expectation is supported by Roy Morgan research, with its measure of the unemployment rate more than doubling between early and late March.”