The economy added far more jobs than expected in November, underlining the strength of the labour market that has grown by 383,000 positions in the past twelve months.
The total number of jobs rose by 61,600 in November, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed, the biggest increase in more than two years and far higher than the 19,000 improvement the market had expected.
However, a rise in the participation rate, which indicates the number of people either employed or actively looking for work, to 65.5 per cent kept the unemployment rate steady at 5.4 per cent.
Full-time employment again accounted for the bulk of the job growth, rising by 41,900 positions.
The number of part-time jobs rose 19,700.
The Australian dollar was boosted by the news, hitting a one month high of 76.75 US cents, from its level of 76.29 US cents ahead of the release of the data.
JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy estimates that annual employment growth is now tracking at 3.2 per cent.
“This is one of the strongest outcomes in the past decade, and is even more impressive given the persistence of below-trend real GDP growth,” he said.
“The mix of jobs growth has also firmed, with full-time picking up strongly at the expense of part-time employment.”
November job growth was concentrated in Victoria and NSW, but every state and territory recorded gains, indicating a broad-based tightening of the labour market.
Economists said more detailed data to be released next week is likely to show strength in a number of key industries such as construction, professional services and health.
An acceleration in job creation over the past year has followed a revival in business sentiment.
However, wages growth remains weak, weighing on consumer spending and leaving the Reserve Bank hoping that the solid run in employment growth will eventually drive a lift in wages and inflation.
“Jobs are being created, boosting spending power in the economy. But wage growth remains modest and elusive,” CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said.
“The wages growth puzzle still needs to be resolved before the Reserve Bank will move interest rates.”
Most economists don’t expect the central bank to lift rates before the second half of 2018.
The quarterly, seasonally adjusted, underemployment rate decreased by 0.2 percentage points to 8.3 per cent, while the rate of under-utilisation, which combines unemployed and underemployed populations, fell by 0.3 percentage points to 13.7 per cent.