Australia's economy added jobs in December, although not enough to prevent the unemployment rate edging up as participation in the workforce increased.
· Employment climbed 13,500 from November, when it rose by a revised 37,100; economists forecast a 10,000 gain in December.
· The jobless rate increased to 5.8 percent; economists forecast 5.7 percent.
· Full-time jobs increased 9,300; part-time employment rose 4,200.
· Participation rate climbed to 64.7 percent from 64.6 percent; economists predicted 64.6 percent.
· The Australian dollar bought 75.03 U.S. cents at 11:35 a.m. in Sydney from 75.15 cents before the report.
December capped a volatile year for Australian jobs, as declining participation for much of 2016 signaled more spare capacity than improved hiring figures suggested. There was some cause for optimism as December and November’s data showed participation picked up and full-time roles climbed. Still, the central bank continues to cite uncertainty over the labor market as a key concern in its outlook for economic growth and inflation.