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ABS reveals 34,700 more jobs, unemployment rate rises to 5.5%

The Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed the job numbers today and they made for positive reading.

The number of jobs added in December was a seasonally-adjusted 34,700, which built on the 61,000 jobs added in November.

The number of jobs added in Australia is a key statistic for economists, businesses and the government. More jobs means GDP growth, economic stability for Australia, more people to spend on something and more taxes for the government.

In-fact, 2017 was the first year where the number of jobs increased every single month of the year.

The Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said “What a great jobs number today. This is the longest run, equal to the longest run of consecutive monthly job increases since 1978. [The] participation rate is at the highest level in seven years and we’ve seen already consumers’ confidence at the highest level since November 2013. So, jobs and growth, the slogan in 2016, a big outcome this year.”

The unemployment rate rose to 5.5% after being at 5.4% for the last three months due to an increase in the participation rate.

Economists at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA), Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC), National Australia Bank Ltd (ASX: NAB) and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ASX: ANZ) will be watching these figures like hawks. Any uptick in unemployment could lead to people being late on their mortgage repayments. This month was positive.

Various businesses that rely on the strength of the Australian consumer will also be glad of today’s news. Woolworths Limited (ASX: WOW), Automotive Holdings Group Ltd (ASX: AHG), Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) and many more ASX businesses rely on Aussie consumers being able and willing to open up their wallets.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of and has recommended Flight Centre Travel Group Limited. The Motley Fool Australia owns shares of National Australia Bank Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has recommended Automotive Holdings Group Limited. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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