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Jobless rate holds steady at 5.4 per cent

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The jobless rate held steady at 5.4 per cent in October, justifying the central bank's decision to leave the cash rate unchanged after this week's monthly board meeting.

Economists had expected the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to rise to 5.5 per cent, after it surged to a two and a half year high in September from 5.1 per cent in August.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday also showed the number of people in employment rising by 10,700, which was more than double what had been expected.

An 8000 fall in part-time work was offset by a 18,770 jump in full-time employment.

Among the states, the jobless rate fell to 5.4 per cent from 5.6 per cent in Victoria, and eased to 6.2 per cent from 6.3 per cent in Queensland.

In Tasmania, the rate fell to 6.7 per cent from 7.3 per cent.

In NSW, it was unchanged at 5.2 per cent, in South Australia it held steady at 5.6 per cent and it rose to 4.6 per cent Western Australia from four per cent.

The rate rose to 4.1 per cent from 3.9 per cent in the ACT and increased to 4.5 per cent from 4.4 per cent in the Northern Territory.

On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia left the key cash interest rate at 3.25 per cent, defying expectations of a reduction.