SYDNEY—Australian employment jumped by a record 121,000 in August, pushing the unemployment rate down from a 12-year high reached in July, and fueling a strong recovery in the Australian dollar.
Unemployment dropped to 6.1% in August from 6.4% in July as 106,700 part-time jobs were added to the economy over the month, the government’s statistics bureau said Thursday.
The Australian dollar jumped by more than half a U.S. cent on the data, breaking back above the key resistance level of US$0.9200, before later giving back some of the rally.
Unemployment had been tracking upward to its current decade highs for a number of years as the economy wilts amid shrinking investment in the resources industry—a sector that has helped Australia rack up 23 years of nonstop expansion.
Unemployment in Australia remains on par with the U.S. where it stood at 6.1% in August also.
Australia’s central bank has been cutting interest rates since late 2011 to give the economy a boost. Rates have been at a record-low 2.5% for more than a year now, fanning a raft of house-buying, but so far having little impact on nonmining sectors of the economy such as retail and manufacturing.