The unemployment rate in Australia stays on a 13-year low in January, while the number of people infected with COVID-19 is rising. This suggests that the Omicron variant is not affecting employment figures, which continue to rise at a moderate level.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said today that the number of jobs increased by 12,900 in January, following two consecutive months of gains.
The unemployment rate was 4.2%, unchanged from December 2021, and the lowest since August 2008, when it was 4.0%.
The spread of Covid 19 virus affected work hours, which decreased by 8.8% as infected workers were forced to stay home or go into quarantine.
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) wants to push the unemployment rate to 4% or below and hopes for a resumption of wage growth. It has been below normal for many years and is now approaching its target.
A relaxed labor market and rising inflation also suggest that an interest rate hike could be imminent.
Last week, RBA Governor Philip Low said the RBA may raise interest rates later this year if the economy continues to recover as expected.