More than 31,000 full-time jobs lost in December

MORE than 31,000 full-time jobs were lost in December last year, increasing unemployment by 0.1 point, but leaving the rounded jobless rate at 5.8%.

Jobs figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed the number of people employed fell 22,600 to 11,629,500 last month.

It also showed a fall in full-time jobs of 31,600, while part-time employment again rose 9,000, partially offsetting the falls.

Federal Employment Minister Senator Eric Abetz said the softer figures showed an "urgent need for Coalition policies that promote strong economic management".

He said a "Labor-Greens alliance" continued to delay the passage of the repeal of carbon and mining taxes, saying their abolition would help create new jobs.

However, Opposition employment spokesman Brendan O'Connor said the loss of full-time jobs "alarming", urging the government to explain how it would deliver its promise to create 1 million new jobs.

The figures also showed unemployment rates falling in both Queensland and New South Wales, down from 5.8% to 5.7% and from 5.9% to 5.8%, respectively.

Overall, the ABS reported the number of people unemployed around the nation went up by 8000 to 722,000 in December.



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