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Jobless rate fall to 5.1pc
Jobless rate fall to 5.1pc

The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell in August, new figures show, but there are signs the nation's job market is weakening.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported the jobless rate edged down 0.1 percentage points to 5.1 per cent last month.

But total employment fell 8800. Part time employment dropped by 9300, offset by an increase in the number of full time workers.

At the same time, the number of people unemployed fell by 10,600.

This contributed to a 0.2 per cent fall in the participation rate - the number of people in work or looking for it - which delivered the small drop in the jobless rate.

Confirming the slowness of the jobs market, aggregate monthly hours worked fell by 5.7 million hours.

In WA, the jobless rate increased by 0.2 percentage points to 3.9 per cent.

This time last year the rate was 4.3 per cent.

August's fall in employment occurred despite a 7800 increase in the number of full-time workers.

Part-time employment across the State fell by 900 while there was a sharp increase in the number of people looking for work which took the overall participation rate up to 68.7 per cent.

Elsewhere, the jobless rate lifted in South Australia (to 5.7 per cent), Queensland (to 5.9 per cent), Victoria (5.6 per cent), Tasmania (6.8 per cent)

It was steady in the Northern Territory (at 4.2 per cent) and the ACT (3.6 per cent) while it fell to 4.8 per cent in NSW.