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Australian jobless rate holds at 5.8%, Aussie dollar sinks

Published on Jan 16, 2014 10:50 AM

SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent in December but the economy shed 22,600 jobs, data showed on Thursday, sending the Australian dollar tumbling to a three-year low.

While the headline rate remained the same the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said seasonally adjusted unemployment increased, with the loss of 31,600 full-time jobs and the creation of just 9,000 part-time positions.

The rate was in line with forecasts but the "Aussie" dollar sank to 88.05 US cents - its lowest since August 2010 - from 89.03 cents on Wednesday.

The loss of 22,600 positions in December was "much weaker than market expectations for a 10,000 gain", said AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver.

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