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Australia Unemployment Rate Unchanged At 5.8%

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Australia posted a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.8 percent in December, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

That was in line with expectations and unchanged from the November reading.

But the Australian economy lost 22,600 jobs last month to 11,629,500 versus expectations for an increase of 10,000 jobs following the addition of 21,000 jobs a month earlier.

Full-time employment decreased 31,600 to 8,067,700 and part-time employment increased 9,000 to 3,561,800.

The participation rate was 64.6 percent - also shy of forecasts for 64.8 percent, which would have been unchanged from November.

Unemployment increased 8,000 (1.1 percent) to 722,000. The number of unemployed persons looking for full-time work increased 13,300 to 532,400 and the number of unemployed persons looking for part-time work decreased 5,300 to 189,600.

Aggregate monthly hours worked increased 0.6 million hours to 1,634.0 million hours.

Also on Thursday, the ABS said that:

• International merchandise imports added a seasonally adjusted A$576 million or 3 percent to A$22.488 billion.

Capital goods climbed A$238m (4 percent), while consumption goods rose A$183m (3 percent), intermediate and other merchandise goods rose A$123m (1 percent), and non-monetary gold rose A$32m (10 percent).

• The total value of building work completed in the fourth quarter of 2013 was up a seasonally adjusted 1.6 percent to A$21.124 billion, following a 1.2 percent gain in the third quarter.

The value of new residential building work done rose 1.3 percent to A$10.602 billion, while work done on new houses fell 0.4 percent to A$6.336 billion and work done on new other residential building rose 3.8 percent to A$4.265 billion.

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