Jobless rate falls to 6.8pc

It is the third straight month of employment gains in Australia and comes with a slight increase the number of people in the workforce.

The participation rate – the proportion of working age population in work or actively looking for work increased 0.1 percentage points to 64.8 per cent.

Monthly hours worked in all jobs – a key statistic watched by the Reserve Bank to get a better read on the employment market – rose 1.6 per cent.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has put industrial relations reform at the top of the list for the national cabinet meeting on Friday. On Thursday he reiterated the importance of the effective rate of unemployment not the headline rate.

“The measured rate is one thing but the effective rate of unemployment was much higher than that,” Mr Morrison said.

It comes as employer groups are at war with one another over possible changes to the enterprise bargaining system, further damaging the prospects for the Morrison government of making any substantive industrial relations reform that would promote a jobs recovery.

As The Australian Financial Review reported today, our of the five employer groups involved in the IR talks are refusing any further engagement with the Business Council, accusing it of not engaging in good faith bargaining by freewheeling with the ACTU.

Also overnight, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development says Australia’s recession will be less severe than expected but its recovery will depend on continuing fiscal support and no return to severe lockdowns.

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