The number of people employed rose 400 from January, the smallest gain in six months, the statistics bureau said in Sydney. The jobless rate rose to 5.3 percent from a revised 5.2 percent.
Weaker employment growth may prompt consumers to trim spending in coming months. Governor Stevens last week raised borrowing costs by a quarter point to 4 percent for the fourth time in five meetings, and signaled further moves as the nation’s economic growth accelerates.
The number of full-time jobs gained 11,400 in February and part-time employment decreased 11,000, today’s report showed.
Australian advertisements for job vacancies jumped 19.1 percent in February, the most in a decade, while consumer and business confidence advanced, reports showed this week.
Prior to today’s release, government reports showed Australian employers added 194,600 jobs in the five months through January, the biggest increase in more than three years. The nation’s unemployment rate has held below 5.9 percent since July 2003.
Australia’s participation rate, which measures the labor force as a percentage of the population aged over 15, fell to 65.2 percent in January from 65.3 percent.