About 15,400 part-time jobs were shed as unemployment rose from 5.1% in January to 5.2% in February, seasonally adjusted, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The number of people in employment dropped to 11.44 million in February, with full-time employee numbers remaining steady at 8.06 million.
Paul Bloxham, HSBC Global Research’s chief economist, said the combination of slower gross domestic product (GDP) growth in the December quarter and today’s unemployment figures showed signs of a slowing economy.
“I think we got further evidence today that the economy looks as though it’s tracking at below trend,” Bloxham said. “If you look at the jobs that have been created over the past six months, on average we have created about 3000 jobs per month. That’s fairly lacklustre jobs growth.”
The labour force underutilisation rate increased to 12.6% and aggregate monthly hours worked increased by 21.6 million hours to 1,616 million hours.
The Australian dollar fell immediately on the news. See ABS figures and graphs here.