RTTNews - Australia's job rate remained unchanged in July compared with June, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

The jobless rate for the population aged 15 years and over stood at a seasonally adjusted 5.8% in July, unchanged from the previous month. Economists expected the rate to climb to 6%. A year ago in July, the jobless rate was only 4.3%.

The unemployment rate for males increased to 6.2% in July from 6.1% from a month earlier, while the jobless rate for the females dropped to 5.3% from 5.4%.

During the month, the number of unemployed persons rose to 664,100 from 663,200 in the preceding month. The number of persons looking for full-time jobs fell by 4,800 to 495,900, while the number looking for part time jobs increased by 5,600 to 168,200.

The total number of employed persons also increased in July to 10.79 million from 10.76 million in June. The participation rate, however, was at 65.3% for the second consecutive month.

On the basis of the original estimates, the jobless rate decreased to 5.3% in July from 5.7% in the preceding month.

Moreover, a report released by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Wednesday showed that the leading indicator of employment rose for the second consecutive month in August, after 18 months consecutive months of decline. The leading indicator for August stood at minus 0.716 compared to minus 0.781 in July.

The institute noted that the indicator was tentatively foreshadowing a quickening in the pace of employment growth to above its long-term rate of 2% per annum. At the same time, the DEEWR said another four consecutive months of increase would be required for the turning point in the indicator to be confirmed.

Meanwhile, in other signs that the Australian economy was improving, the Reserve Bank of Australia held its key interest rate at a 49-year low of 3% for the fourth consecutive month.

The RBA noted that the economic conditions were stronger than expected a few months ago, with both consumer spending and exports showing notable resilience. Further, measures of confidence recovered, suggesting the risk of a severe contraction in the Australian economy has abated, the central bank said.

At the same time, the RBA indicated that the most likely outcome in the near term is for a period of sluggish output, with consumer spending likely to slow somewhat and investment remaining weak. However, stronger dwelling activity and public spending will start to provide more support to overall demand soon, and growth is likely to firm into 2010, the central bank added.

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