Australian Employment
A worker carries parcels from a truck as he places them onto a trolley for delivery in central Sydney, Australia, May 18, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Australia’s unemployment rate in September did not change from August’s 5.6 percent, the lowest in three years. The unchanged joblessness rate was achieved even if 9,800 jobs were lost for the ninth month of 2016.

Economists were actually expecting 15,000 jobs created that month but for unemployment to slightly increase to 5.7 percent. ABC explains the unemployment rate kept steady while jobs were even lost to a decline in the participation rate to 64.5 percent from 64.7 percent.

The trend is a continuation of the changes in Australia’s labour market as more full-time positions are lost compared to new part-time jobs created. In September, 43,200 new part-time jobs replaced 53,000 full-time positions lost, causing a net loss of 9,800 jobs.

Commenting on the trend, Tom Kennedy, JP Morgan analyst, says in a research note released earlier this week that it would not force the Reserve Bank of Australia to cut interest rate, but would be a concern for the Australian central bank.

Kennedy says he does not expect excessive volatility in the country’s unemployment rate, but would expect an impact on underemployment and salary growth, Reuters reports.

However, Paul Dales, chief Australian economist of Capital Economics, says it is difficult to rely on headline numbers because it would look better due to the drag caused when the contracts of those temporarily employed for the August Census is factored.

Dales believes the country’s joblessness rate “is worse than it looks” because of the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ admission it altered the headline figure since the incoming rotation sample for Queensland was different from the state’s sample. He points out the unemployment data for September, when taken at face value, shows employment had ground to a halt in recent months and the yearly growth rates even dipped to 1.4 percent in September from 2.1 percent in April, The Australian reports.