Australia's seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point but the rounded estimate remained steady at 5.8 per cent in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that the number of people employed decreased by 22,600, to 11,629,500, in December due to a fall in the full-time employment of 31,600 people.
The fall in full-time work was partially offset by an increase in part-time employment by 9,000 jobs, while it was a reduction in the participation rate that ensured the unemployment figure remained steady.
AMP chief economist Shane Oliver said that as a lagging indicator, the December figures reflect the soft economic conditions and bleak outlook seen around the middle of last year.
“With more forward-looking economic indicators showing signs of improvement (for example, housing approvals, retail sales and consumer and business confidence), jobs growth should start to improve by around mid-year,” he said.
“While the unemployment rate is likely to drift up into mid-year, the falling participation rate means that it may only reach six per cent (rather than the 6.25 per cent forecast by the federal government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook in December) before stabilising during the second half of the year,” Mr Oliver said.