Australian employment posted a solid rise in June, beating forecasts, but that did not prevent the unemployment rate from matching a decade peak of 6.0 percent as more people went looking for work.
A net 15,900 jobs were created in June, topping market estimates of 12,000, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed on Thursday. Full-time jobs dipped 3,800, but that followed a hefty gain in May.
The unemployment rate of 6.0 percent was a tick above forecasts and matched the January reading, which had been the highest in a decade.
That soured hopes that the jobless rate had peaked for this cycle.
"It's a mixed bag. We're still generating positive jobs numbers and that's good, but equally we've hit the sticker-shock number of 6 percent," said Michael Blythe, chief economist at Commonwealth Bank.
"The bottom line is the economy is strong enough to be generating positive jobs growth, but it does underline the RBA's point of view that it's going to be a pretty slow grind before the unemployment rate is back on a downtrend again."
To stop the unemployment rate rising over time, Australia needs monthly jobs gains of at least 15,000 to match its relatively rapid population growth of 1.7 percent a year.
That is one reason the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has cautioned that it would likely be many months before the unemployment rate began to fall in a sustained manner.
The central bank has committed to keeping rates low for some time to come as the economy struggles with fading mining investment and a stubbornly high currency.