Unemployment steady at 5.8 per cent as full-time jobs added

By business reporter Michael Janda Updated Thu 8 May 2014, ABC Net

Australia’s unemployment rate has held steady at 5.8 per cent, with the estimated addition of 14,200 jobs.

The result defied economist expectations of a small tick up in unemployment to 5.9 per cent, with most having expected a payback after a large decline in the jobless rate last month.

However, the Bureau of Statistics figures estimate that 14,200 full-time jobs were created last month, with no part-time jobs lost, leaving unemployment steady at 5.8 per cent, seasonally adjusted.

The more stable trend figures, which smooth out volatility, also had unemployment steady but at 5.9 per cent.

The participation rate – which measures the proportion of over 15-year-olds in work or looking for it – eased slightly from 64.8 to 64.7 per cent, seasonally adjusted.

While all other aspects of the data were fairly positive, the ABS estimate of hours worked fell 2.5 per cent in April to 1.57 billion.

However, the ABS has cautioned that the timing of Easter and Anzac Day so closely together may have affected the number of hours worked in last month’s data.

The Australian dollar rose from around 93.2 US cents to just over 93.6 on the data release, as traders upped bets on interest rates rising earlier than many analysts current expect.