Job ads up, employment down

It’s a week of mixed messages for investors.

Two days and two somewhat opposing views on the state of the employment market in Australia will no doubt create some headaches for investors trying to determine where the economy is headed from here.

ABS labour force

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported that Australia’s unemployment rate increased to 5.7% in August, up 0.1% seasonally adjusted. The number of persons employed decreased by 11,800 to 11,637,100. Meanwhile the seasonally adjusted underemployment rate was 7.8% which means that the official total labour force underutilisation rate is now at 13.7%!

SEEK job ads

Employment website company SEEK (ASX: SEK), which publishes the SEEK New Job Ad Index, has reported that new job ad numbers for the month of August rose 1%. This is the first increase since January and was helped along by a strong 4.5% increase in Queensland and marks a pattern of firmer new job ads over the past three months.

Foolish takeaway

With a significant percentage of the nation struggling to find a job, get enough hours of work or discouraged all together from looking for a job, it’s no wonder Myer (ASX: MYR) boss Mr Bernie Brooks gave a downbeat assessment this week when he released the retailer’s full-year results on his outlook for the coming financial year.

A low-growth economy could make it tough for companies to grow their revenues which could put a halt to share price gains, in this type of environment high-yielding stocks are all the more appealing. Discover The Motley Fool’s favourite income idea for 2013-2014 in our brand-new, FREE research report, including a full investment analysis! Simply click here for your FREE copy of “The Motley Fool’s Top Dividend Stock for 2013-2014.”

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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