Australia

Australia's unemployment is highest since 2002

Workers at a Sydney construction site, August 2014 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption November's jobs numbers paint a mixed picture of the economy

Australia's unemployment rate rose to 6.3% in November - the highest since 2002, government data showed.

The figure was up 0.1% from October despite 42,700 jobs being added to the economy, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said.

Only 1,800 of those roles were full-time work, but the overall figure was higher than the 15,000 forecasted.

A higher participation rate - people in work or looking for it - offset the job gains, raising the jobless rate.

In reaction to the mixed data, Australian shares headed lower with the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 down 0.5% to 5,231 points.

Boost needed

Economists said the country's central bank was under pressure to cut interest rates further from their record low of 2.5%.

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has not moved on interest rates for 16 consecutive months.

Australia has avoided recession for more than 20 years, but the economy is struggling to shift to non-mining led growth.

The slowdown in China, its largest trading partner, has also been a contributing factor.

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