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AAP

2013-01-17

The December jobs figures, out on Thursday, are expected to show a rise in the unemployment rate.

AAP's survey of 14 economists reveals a median forecast for the unemployment rate to increase 0.2 percentage points to 5.4 per cent in December.

The total number of employed people is expected to remain flat in the month, according to the forecast, with population growth pushing the unemployment rate higher.

JP Morgan economist Tom Kennedy said more than 20,000 additional people needed to find jobs every month in order to maintain the current unemployment rate.

"And we don't think, considering the structural and fiscal headwinds facing it, that the economy can produce that many jobs over the month," Mr Kennedy said.

He said the unemployment rate was likely to continue to move higher throughout 2013, as the mining investment boom peaked and underperforming sectors like housing struggled to make up for the shortfall.