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Aust jobless rate 5.4% in Dec


Australia's unemployment rate rose to 5.4 per cent in December from 5.3 per cent in November, official figures show.

Total employment fell 5,500 to 11.539 million in the month, according to the seasonally adjusted figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

The forecast was for total employment to be flat in December with the unemployment rate at 5.4 per cent, according to the median of 14 market economists surveyed by AAP.

Full-time employment fell by 13,800 to 8.112 million in December and part-time employment was up 8,300 to 3.426 million.

The December participation rate was 65.1 per cent, unchanged from November.

The December participation rate was forecast to be 65.1 per cent.

The ABS report also showed aggregate hours worked by employed people in Australia fell by 0.1 per cent in December, seasonally adjusted, after a rise of 0.8 per cent in November which reversed a fall of 0.7 per cent the month before.

Aggregate hours worked in December 2012 were 0.1 per cent higher than a year earlier in December 2011, after a rise of 1.7 per cent between December 2010 and December 2011, and an increase of 2.4 per cent in the 12 months before that.

The ABS figures also show the trend measure of hours worked rose by 0.1 per cent in December, an annualised rate of 1.4 per cent.