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Surprise spike in WA unemployment rate as full time jobs fall

14 September 2017

Australia's economy has added more jobs than expected in August, underscoring an improvement in labour market conditions that has seen almost a quarter of a million jobs added over the past six months.

Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) revealed an 11th straight increase in monthly trend full-time employment last month, with the economy adding 22,000 full-time jobs.

The number of employed people increased by 29,200 in July, whose figure was revised from a previously estimated rise of 27,900.

The participation rate ticked up to 65.3 percent - exceeding expectations for 65.1 percent, which would have been unchanged.

The number of part-time jobs rose by 14,100.

Unemployment fell in Tasmania (to 6 per cent), South Australia (to 5.7 per cent), Queensland (to 5.7 per cent) while it was steady in Victoria at 6.1 per cent and the NSW at five per cent.

Interestingly, trend employment has increased by 2.6 per cent over the past year, according to Mr Hockman - above the 1.9 per cent average of the past 20 years.

"Despite the solid jobs growth, we think that we are still some way from labour market slack being eroded sufficiently to put genuine upward pressure on wages", CBA senior economist Gareth Aird said.

"The underemployment rate is an important indicator of the spare capacity of workers in Australia, and it has remained at 8.7 per cent, a historical high, for the third consecutive quarter", he noted.

The jobless rate held steady at 5.6% last month, as expected by the consensus.

By 1400 AEST, the Australian dollar had settled at 80 United States cents.

Surprise spike in WA unemployment rate as full time jobs fall