8 Jun 2012

Australia's full-time employment surges

5:36 am on 8 June 2012

Australia's economy is continuing to display its resilience, with nearly 40,000 full time jobs being created.

Unemployment edged up from a revised 5% to 5.1%, but only because of a sharp rise in the participation rate as more people looked for work.

A high Australian dollar and a more cost-conscious consumer has led to job losses in manufacturing, retail, real estate and construction.

But hiring is strong in healthcare, mining, finance and the public sector, while resource companies are also hiring aggressively for several massive liquefied natural gas projects.

Stronger employment figures follow better-than-expected economic growth in the first three months of the year.

The Reserve Bank of Australia lowered the official cash rate to 3.5% on Tuesday, citing a slowing global economy and weaker domestic spending.

Economists say the better data is likely to stay the central bank's hand from any further reductions in the meantime.