RTTNews - Australia's unemployment rate increased in May to 5.7 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The figure was an increase of 0.3 percent compared to the April jobless rate. The increase was seen as positive news by many analysts, who had expected unemployment to rise further.

The unemployment rate in May was 1.6 percent higher than its level of one year earlier.

The jobless rate for April was revised to 5.5 percent from the originally reported rate of 5.4 percent.

The bureau said that in seasonally adjusted terms, the number of employed Australians decreased by 1,700. Full time employment fell by 26,200 while part time employment was up by 24,500.

The number of unemployed Australians increased by 27,200 to 651,200, the Bureau said, with the number of people looking for full time work higher by 30,000 and those looking for part time work down by 2,800.

The bureau said the nation's employee participation rate, or the percentage of work-age Australians active in the workforce increased 0.1 percent to 65.5 percent on month.

Geographically, the state of New South Wales had the highest jobless rate, at 6.4 percent, up from the April reading of 6.1 percent. Joblessness in Victoria was 5.9 percent, up from 5.7 percent in April. The unemployment rate in South Australia and Tasmania both decreased.

The jobless data follows data last week showing Australia avoided a technical recession in the first quarter of 2009, with Gross Domestic Product posting an expansion of 0.4 percent.

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