Australia's jobs growth surged past all expectations in January as firms took on more full-time staff while the jobless rate stayed at its lowest in seven years, upbeat data showed on Thursday, sending the local dollar higher.
A total 39,100 net new jobs were created in January, from a downwardly revised but still sturdy 16,900 in December and surpassing market forecasts for a 15,000 increase, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) report.
The Australian dollar in response jumped to a two-week top of $0.7208.
The barnstorming performance will be welcomed by policymakers who are counting on labour market strength for a long-awaited pick up in wage growth and inflation in the face of a downturn in the property market.
The overall trend in Australia's jobs market has been robust over the past couple of years with annual employment growth of 2.2 percent, faster than the 1.6 percent rise in population.
The unemployment rate stayed at 5.0 percent, the lowest since April 2012. The only factor preventing a further decline in the jobless rate in January was an rise in the participation rate to 65.7 percent. This means the jobless rate remained at its recent low, even with an increase in the number of people looking for work.