Australian unemployment eases to 5.6%
A man paints the front of a shop at Circular Quay on Sydney Harbour in front of the Sydney Harbour Bridge on September 12, 2013
The seasonally-adjusted jobless rate receded from August's 5.8 percent -- a level not seen since the global financial crisis as Australia's mining-powered economy confronts a peak in resources investment due to slowing commodity prices.
Analysts had expected unemployment to hold steady at 5.8 percent but a fall in the participation rate -- usually interpreted as evidence of jobseekers giving up on looking for work -- and a surge in jobs related to the September 7 election meant the result exceeded expectations.
"The employment numbers last month and this month have been flattered somewhat by the election," said National Australia Bank economist David de Garis.
The Australian dollar bounced from 94.48 US cents to 94.69 US cents after the headline rate beat forecasts, but analysts said the underlying picture was muted and unlikely to drive any move in the record low 2.5 percent interest rate.
"The recent improvement in confidence and stabilisation in labour market conditions is welcome but is still only tentative evidence that economic activity is improving from below-trend rates rather than just stabilising," said economist Justin Fabo from ANZ.
Slowing growth in key export market China and plunging commodity prices have hit Australia's key mining sector, with the central bank warning a decade-long, Asia-driven resources investment boom has peaked.
Australia's new conservative government has vowed to "reboot" the mining sector by slashing corporate taxes, but they face a steep task given China's slowdown and additional commodities supply coming online.
Top mining firms have taken a major hit, with BHP's annual net profit slumping 29.5 percent to US$10.88 billion in the year to June and rival Rio Tinto down 71 percent for the first half at US$1.72 billion.
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