Australia reports 48-year-low jobless rate before election

Australia reports 48-year-low jobless rate before election

Australia posted its lowest jobless rate in 48 years Thursday, a potential pre-election boost to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is fighting to stay in power.

The unemployment rate dipped to 3.85 percent in April, the official statistics body said, delivering a dose of good news two days before federal elections.

It was the lowest unemployment level since 1974 -- when flared trousers were in fashion and US president Richard Nixon resigned over the Watergate scandal.

"More Australians are in work now than ever before," said the ruling conservative Liberal-National Party coalition's employment minister, Stuart Robert.

Opinion polls show the ruling conservative coalition lagging a little behind the opposition Labor Party in a tightening election race.

But surveys indicate the rising cost of living, not employment, is a priority for voters.

Opposition Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese's economic credentials have been questioned by Morrison, notably since he forgot the unemployment rate when quizzed by reporters more than a month ago.

Albanese has said he supports a rise in the minimum wage in line with inflation, which has shot up to 5.1 percent as prices soar in the shops, at gasoline stations and on the housing market.

Australia's economy created an additional 92,400 full-time jobs in April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said.

That helped to trim April's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate just slightly below the revised 3.93-percent rate of the previous month.

"Overall, today's data remain consistent with a still-tightening labour market and continued difficulty for firms in finding labour," said National Australia Bank economist Ted Nugent.

"This should see stronger wages growth emerge as the year progresses."

* Stories are edited and translated by Info3 *
Non info3 articles reflect solely the opinion of the author or original source and do not necessarily reflect the views of Info3