Australian employment unexpectedly fell for the first time in five months in May, though any disappointment was tempered by a surprisingly steady jobless rate and a solid increase in full-time hiring.
Thursday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed a net 4,800 jobs were lost in May, short of market forecasts of a 10,000 rise. However, all the loss came in part-time positions with full-time jobs up a healthy 22,200.
The unemployment rate also held steady at 5.8 percent when analysts had looked for an increase to 5.9 percent. That was the third straight month of unchanged outcomes and kept alive hopes the jobless rate was near its peak for this cycle.
Just a few months ago the consensus had been that unemployment would rise to the 6.25-6.5 percent zone this year.
"The overall tone is one of a labur market that's mirroring to some degree the economy, which was strong late last year, early this year and momentum has eased a little in Q2," said Su-Lin Ong, a senior economist at RBC Capital Markets.
"So there's no real urgency to do anything on the rate front, and that remains very much the message - a Reserve Bank that stays on the sidelines for the foreseeable future."