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February 07 2013, 2:20PM

Employment Minister Bill Shorten says while there is softness in the labour market, new job figures show the employment news is not all bad.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed the unemployment rate remained at 5.4 per cent in January when economists had expected a rise to 5.5 per cent.

There was also a 10,400 rise in the number of people employed, over double the forecasts of economists, as a result of a spike in part-time workers.

However, Mr Shorten said the figures from his home state of Victoria were "disturbing", showing a jump in its unemployment rate to 6.1 per cent from 5.6 per cent previously.

He blamed this on a high Australian dollar hurting manufacturing and a lack of state infrastructure investment.

"I think it is about time we recognised that despite the difficult circumstances, we have more Australians working than we ever have before," Mr Shorten told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"Global economic circumstances are tough ... (but) it isn't gilding the lily to say Australia is doing relatively better.