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Australia added 17,900 jobs in May as part-time roles increased

The number of Australians with jobs increased in May, driven by gains in part-time employment.

[SYDNEY] The number of Australians with jobs increased in May, driven by gains in part-time employment.

Employment rose 17,900 from April. Economists had forecasted a 15,000 gain.

The jobless rate held at 5.7 per cent in line with economists' estimates while full-time jobs held steady. The gain was entirely due to part-time positions

Participation rate, a measure of labour force as a share of population, held at 64.8 per cent. Economists had predicted 64.9 per cent.

The report is further evidence that record-low interest rates are aiding a revival in industries like construction, tourism and education that are helping Australia soak up unemployed miners as a resource boom winds down. Still, the outlook for business investment remains weak and clouds remain over China, Australia's biggest trading partner.

Indeed, the economy expanded an annual 3.1 per cent in the first quarter, close to its 30-year average and unemployment was below its mean over the previous two decades. The Australian dollar is trading near 74 US cents after having dropped to 68 cents in January and risen to 78 cents in the intervening period.

"The latest business surveys and job advert figures are consistent with another month of decent employment growth," Paul Dales, a Sydney-based economist with Capital Economics, said before the release.

"The upcoming national census means that as many as 2,000 extra workers were probably hired in May in census-related jobs."

Accommodative monetary and fiscal policy settings have assisted with the economy's adjustment from mining, including a rate cut in May. The central bank paused at 1.75 per cent this month.

The Australian dollar traded at 74.20 US cents at 11.36am in Sydney, from 74.23 cents before the data was released.