Updated: 06/12/2014 11:03 | By Agence France-Presse

Australia's unemployment rate remains at 5.8%

Australia's unemployment rate remained steady at 5.8 percent for the third straight month in May, data showed Thursday, with the total number of jobs falling in a mixed outlook for the economy.

Australia's unemployment rate remains at 5.8%

Australia's unemployment rate remained steady at 5.8 percent in May, pictured is Sydney Harbour Bridge on September 12, 2013 - by Greg Wood

The figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics contrasted with analysts' expectations of a rise in the jobless rate to 5.9 percent with 10,000 new positions created.

"The labour force report for May was softer-than-expected at face value but the details were better," ANZ senior economist Justin Fabo said.

"While employment declined unexpectedly in May, there might be seasonal adjustment issues given that employment has fallen in May in six of the past seven years."

A total of 4,800 positions were lost last month. Full-time jobs jumped by 22,200, but part-time positions fell by 27,000 to take the number of people employed in the country to 11.564 million.

The participation rate -- which measures the proportion of adults in work or looking for it -- slipped from 64.7 percent to 64.6 percent.

The Australian dollar eased slightly to 93.75 US cents after the data was released.

Fabo said the underlying trend for jobs growth was expected to slow as hiring intentions in the second-quarter moderate.

Economists have also been concerned that a recent weakness in consumer confidence following a tough federal budget, that cut back on government welfare and spending, could weigh on firms' employment plans.

The unemployment rate rose to a decade-high 6.0 percent in January, with analysts and the Treasury tipping it to edge higher this year as the economy continues to transition away from an unprecedented boom in the resources sector.

But it slipped to 5.8 percent in March amid indications it could be peaking earlier than expected.

Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens said last week, after the central bank held interest rates at a record low of 2.5 percent, that despite signs of improvements in the labour market, "it will probably be some time yet before unemployment declines consistently".

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