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Australia's unemployment rate of 6 percent the highest in ten years

SYDNEY--Australia's unemployment rate returned to a decade high of 6.0 percent in June, data showed Thursday, as the economy shed full-time posts owing to “challenging” conditions and as more people joined the jobs market.

The jobless rate pushed higher even as the economy added a seasonally adjusted 15,900 positions to take the number of people employed to 11.578 million, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed.

The rise in the total number of positions came through part-time roles, which jumped 19,700 last month. Full-time jobs fell 3,800.

The May unemployment rate was revised upwards from 5.8 percent to 5.9 percent. Economists were tipping the June jobless rate to reach 5.9 percent and for 12,000 positions to be created.

The Australian dollar spiked briefly at 94.51 U.S. cents following the data release but slipped back to 94.18 cents soon after.

“Australian labor market conditions remain challenging,” ANZ bank senior economist Justin Fabo said.

“We saw a strong risk of an above-market rise in employment in June reflecting some statistical payback after the fall in employment in May.

“The 'payback,' however, was less than we expected so it was, at best, a soft outcome.”

Fabo said one encouraging figure in the data was a rise in average monthly hours worked, which increased by 15.1 million hours to 1.629 billion.

Analysts said the participation rate, which measures the proportion of adults in work or looking for it, was behind the higher-than-expected increase.

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