Australia’s unemployment rate remains at a four-year high of 5.8 per cent.
Figures released by the Bureau of Statistics show the economy lost 31,600 full-time jobs in December.
In the same month the economy added 9000 part-time jobs so lost 22,600 positions as a whole.
As a result the Australian dollar fell to 88.09 US cents, the lowest it’s been for three-and-a half years.
The figures indicate the economy is still being slow to respond to the repeated interest rate cuts from the RBA.
The jobless rate would have been higher if not for a fall in the participation rate.
NAB senior economist Spiros Papadopolous highlighted this point in The Age.
“Through the course of 2014, we’ve had an increase in jobs of only 0.5 per cent,” he said.
“ So it’s very modest growth and really the unemployment rate would be trending higher had it not been for the fall in the participation rate.”
The aging Australian population is primarily responsible for the drop in the participation rate, which measures the number of people in work or actively looking for work.
The figures slightly increase the chance of the RBA cutting interest rates in February, although the RBA has stated it has a preference for a weaker exchange rate rather than further cuts to interest rates to support the economy.