Australian employment proved surprisingly strong in November as full-time jobs made a comeback after a very tough year, a welcome counterweight to recent gloom over weak third-quarter growth.
Thursday's data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed employment rose a net 39,100 in November, handily outpacing forecasts of a 20,000 gain. October's report was also revised upward to show an increase of 15,200.
The unemployment rate did tick up to 5.7 percent, from a three-year low of 5.6 percent, but only because more people went looking for work.
Crucially, full-time jobs bounced by 39,300 and brought the gains since September to a hefty 80,000, almost recovering all the losses suffered since January.
"Suddenly the trend for full-time employment looks to be improving relative to part-time employment," said Shane Oliver, head of economics at AMP Capital. "The figures look a bit stronger than previously thought."
The prevalence of part-time work over full-time has been a feature of the labour market this year and one not welcomed by the government since it crimps both incomes and tax revenue.
The data will be a tonic for the government of Prime Minster Malcolm Turnbull after figures last week showed the economy shrank by 0.5 percent in the third quarter, the first contraction since 2011.
It also gave the local currency a brief respite from selling after the first hike in U.S. interest rates this year sent the U.S. dollar surging.