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Australia's jobless rate rises to 5.2 percent in February

(Xinhua)

13:15, March 08, 2012

CANBERRA, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Australia's jobless rate rose up to 5.2 percent in February as forecast by economists with 15,400 job losses in the month, the nation's statistic bureau said on Thursday.

The seasonally-adjusted rise in the unemployment rate came as the number of people in work fell by 15,400. And the decline in jobs was all in part-time work.

The data, released on Thursday, follows hot on the heels of Wednesday's latest national accounts which showed only modest 0.4 percent economic growth in the December quarter, raising the possibility of a further reduction in interest rates down the track.

In January the jobless rate unexpectedly fell to 5.1 percent.

As for the Queensland government which is now fighting an election campaign, the Thursday data may not be encouraging with the state's unemployment rate jumping to 5.7 percent in February from 5.4 percent in January.

The jobless rate rose to 5.4 percent from 5.2 percent in Victoria, and increased to 5.2 percent from 5.1 percent in South Australia. Southern island state Tasmania recorded a declined rate to 7.0 percent from 7.1 percent previously and eased to 4.0 percent from 4.1 percent in Western Australia.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in New South Wales at 5.2 percent.

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