Australia Lost Fewer Than Estimated Jobs

Australian employers cut fewer workers than estimated in May, adding to signs the economy may recover faster than other developed nations.

The number of people employed fell 1,700 from April, when it climbed a revised 25,400, the statistics bureau said in Sydney today. The median estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was for a 30,000 decline. The jobless rate rose to 5.7 percent from a revised 5.5 percent.

The number of full-time jobs dropped 26,200 in May and part-time positions increased 24,500, today’s report showed.

Retailer JB Hi-Fi Ltd. raised its earnings forecast this week after opening new stores and boosting sales. It also increased its target for new store openings, with 160 outlets planned compared with its previous forecast of 150.

Germany-based retailer Aldi will spend A$1 billion over the next three years to expand its network of Australian stores to as many as 600 from 205, the Australian Financial Review reported today, citing Managing Director Michael Kloeters.

In contrast, mining companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group that are reliant on overseas demand are reducing production and labor. Rio Tinto has slashed its global spending by more than half to $4 billion this year and BHP shut its $2.2 billion Ravensthorpe nickel mine in Western Australia.

Qantas Airways Ltd., Australia’s largest carrier, said in April it will cut 1,750 jobs as demand for premium travel wanes.

The participation rate, which measures the labor force as a percentage of the population aged over 15, rose to 65.5 percent in May from 65.4 percent.

Australia Lost Fewer Than Estimated Jobs, Bloomberg
6/11/2009 9:53:36 AM