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MENAFN - AFP - 08/11/2012

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(MENAFN - AFP) Australia's unemployment rate remained steady at a two-and-a-half-year high of 5.4 percent in October, according to the latest data, which analysts said would have little impact on interest rate decisions.

The figure was the same as September, which was the highest since April 2010, and slightly below analyst expectations.

The number of those in full-time work grew by 18,900 to 8.13 million, although that was offset by an 8,000 decline in part-time jobs to 3.393 million.

Overall, the economy created 10,700 jobs, with the participation rate -- the proportion of working-age people in employment or actively looking for jobs -- dipping to 65.1 percent from 65.2 percent in September.

The result saw the Australian dollar climb to an intraday high of 104.32 US cents, up from 103.94 cents immediately before the data release. The stock market recovered from earlier heavier losses to be 0.79 percent lower in late trade.

JP Morgan Australia chief economist Stephen Walters said the 10,700 jobs added in October were not enough to keep up with population growth.

"So, we were a bit lucky that the participation rate went down. If it hadn't, you would have got a slightly higher unemployment rate," he said.

"It's not a terrible number, but it's not a great number. It's sort of middle of the road."

On Tuesday, Australia's central bank unexpectedly held its official interest rate steady at 3.25 percent and analysts said the jobs numbers would not change the bank's outlook for the economy.

"Whatever they were thinking earlier this week, I don't think this would have changed their outlook," said National Australia Bank senior economist Spiros Papadopoulos.

"I don't think the figures today really increase or decrease the chances of them (cutting rates) in December."

The Reserve Bank of Australia cited recent indications on the world economy being more positive as it kept rates on hold, a decision that surprised many economists who had been tipping a 25 basis point cut.


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