Australian unemployment rises to 5.7 percent

By AFP

July 15, 2010 Updated Jun 14, 2009 at 9:41 PM CDT

Australia's jobless rate rose 0.2 points to 5.7 percent in May as the economy continued to shed full-time jobs, official data has shown.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said on Thursday a total of 1,700 jobs were lost during the month, much better than market expectations they could fall by up to 30,000.

The number of full-time jobs fell 26,200 while part-time positions increased by 24,500.

It followed a surprise fall in the unemployment rate in April, which most economists dismissed as a statistical blip. The ABS revised the unemployment rate for April up 0.1 points to 5.5 percent.

Unemployment is expected to continue climbing as the global downturn hits Australia, with the government predicting in last month's budget that it will soar to 8.5 percent by the middle of 2011.

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