Australia's unemployment rate dropped 0.2 per cent in February, although the figures may have been collected too early in the month to reflect the impact from the coronavirus.
"There was no notable impact on February 2020 Labour Force statistics resulting from the recent bushfires or COVID-19," the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.
But the reference period for the month was in the first half of February, "and pre-dates the notable increases in confirmed cases in Australia of COVID-19".
Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 per cent in February, the ABS said.
In trend terms, unemployment was steady at 5.1 per cent for a third straight month, the ABS said.
Full-time employment grew by about 13,000 and part-time employment increased by about 8,000.
BIS Oxford Economics chief economist Sarah Hunter said the impact of the virus on employment would likely not be seen for months.
"Moves in employment tend to lag behind output so it's likely that the data for March will not show a significant decline in jobs or rise in the unemployment rate - we'll have to wait until the middle of the year before we begin to see the initial impact on the labour market," she wrote in a note.
But JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy predicted the impact of the virus would be felt in March.
"Voluntary and non-voluntary business shutdowns (the latter being mostly a public sector story so far) will result in a sharp drop in hours worked from March, which we also expect will drive the underemployment rate higher," he wrote.
Unemployment could reach 6.5 per cent by year's end, Mr Kennedy predicted.
St George economist Nelson Aston was more pessimistic, forecasting unemployment could hit seven per cent.
Still, ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch said Thursday's employment data was good news.
"We think it's only a matter of time before the labour market deteriorates. Still, the starting point is better than we expected."