Jobless rate ticks up to 5.6 per cent

Colin Brinsden, AAP Economics Correspondent
Labour force data shows employment rose by 22,600 in April

The jobless rate has ticked up to 5.6 per cent as more people seek employment, encouraged by last year's record jobs growth.

This is despite 22,600 people finding employment in April, Thursday's labour force data shows.

This is roughly in line with the 20,000 jobs rise that had been expected by economists, although they had thought the unemployment rate would have remained at 5.5 per cent.

The jobless rate is at its highest level since July last year.

However, deputy Reserve Bank governor Guy Debelle told a conference earlier this week he expects this rate to gradually decline.

He noted that the unemployment rate declined 0.25 percentage points over the past year and is expecting something similar over the year ahead.

He said forward indicators like vacancies and hiring intentions remain positive.

And with economic growth expected to pick up, he was reasonably confident that unemployment will resume a gradual downward trend, which will also lead to a pick-up in wages.

However, that pick-up in wages seems a long time coming, with figures on Wednesday showing annual wage growth stuck at 2.1 per cent, only just above inflation and close to its lowest in two decades.