Unemployment rate

The US Unemployment Rate report
Release Date: Released on the first Friday of the new month as part of the NFP report
Release Time: At 8.30am
Released By: The US Census Bureau
The Australia Unemployment Rate report
Release Date: About 10 days after the end of the month under review
Release Time: At 9.30pm EST
Released By: The Australia Bureau of Statistics website
The Canada Unemployment Rate report
Release Date: Usually in the first Friday of the new month (about 8 days into the new month)
Release Time: At 8.30am EST
Released By: Statistics Canada

The Unemployment Rate is a news release which details the percentage of employable, unemployed people who are actively seeking employment. This news release is a feature of virtually all major traded currencies in the market. The most significant Unemployment Rate figures are seen out of the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain. In the United States, the Unemployment Rate is released along with the Non-Farm Employment Change. In the other afore-mentioned countries, the Unemployment Rate is basically a standalone figure.

Time of Release

The Unemployment Rate report is usually released monthly in the countries mentioned above. In the US, the Unemployment Rate is released on the first Friday of the new month as part of the NFP report. This release occurs at 8.30am Eastern US time, and is seen on the website of the US Census Bureau. It can also be seen on independent news feeds from Bloomberg and Thomas Reuters.

In Australia, the Unemployment Rate is released along with the Employment Change data by the Australian Bureau of Statistics at 9.30pm EST. This release comes up 10 days into the new month and is therefore a monthly release. Data can be seen on the Australia Bureau of Statistics website and on Thomas Reuters and Bloomberg news feeds.

In the UK, the Unemployment Rate is reported along with the employment change together as the Claimant Count Change. This news release is released by the Office of National Statistics.

In Canada, the Unemployment Rate is released by Statistics Canada together with the Employment Change on the first Friday of the new month at 8.30am EST, about 8 days into the new month. There are some months when this release clashes with the release time for the US NFP. At such times, it is preferable to trade the NFP except there is a conflict between the US Unemployment Rate and US Non-Farm Employment Change. When this conflict occurs, then the Canadian Employment data can be traded. Data can be seen on the Statistics Canada website and on news release sites such as Bloomberg and Thomas Reuters.

Interpreting the Data

The Unemployment Rate is not only a high impact news event, but among other economic news of high market impact, it ranks at the very top. Unemployment will serve as an ultimate marker on many other market indicators. It will affect manufacturing, consumer spending, retail sales and inflation.

Rising unemployment is seen as a bad influence on the economy, and works in a vicious cycle. When there is high unemployment, it reduces the level of consumer spending, puts a strain on social services, and is a sign that manufacturers are not making money, which in turn will affect the ability of retail outlets to make sales and ultimately will affect the nation’s GDP. These factors will serve to aggravate unemployment, except measures are taken to break the cycle at some point.

Therefore, a higher Unemployment Rate above the previous figures is seen as bad for the local currency, while lower Unemployment Rate is seen as good for a currency.


The Unemployment Rate should be looked at in terms of the actual numbers of people who have either been laid off, are seeking new employment, are re-employed in lesser paying jobs or have stopped looking for work altogether. This is what gives a more complete picture that will enable the trader to use the news release for trading purposes. This is especially so when the Unemployment Rate has remained stagnant, in which case the number of people hired or fired in the previous month now becomes the benchmark for trading the employment data.