Australian unemployment hits level last seen in 2003

|By:, SA News Editor

Australia's jobless rate unexpectedly edged up to a high of more than ten years, rising to 6% in January from 5.8% in December and topping consensus that was 5.8% also.

The number of people in work sank by 3,700 after a fall of 23,000.

The number of full-time jobs declined 7,100 after a drop of 32,100, while that for part-time positions grew 3,400 vs +9,100.

Labor-force participation was unchanged at 64.5%.

The rise in the jobless rate has weakened expectations that the Reserve Bank of Australia will increase rates after a long period of easing.

The S&P/ASX 200 is -0.1%, while the AUD-USD is -0.9%. (PR)