Australia unemployment rate
Australia's unemployment rate remains at 5.4 percent

Australia's unemployment rate has remained steady in January in contrast to economists' expectations for a rise due to an increase in new part-time jobs.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said that the country's jobless rate was stable at 5.4 percent in January, beating analysts' expectations of a slight rise to 5.5 percent.

The number of employed people has increased by 10,400 to 11.5 million in January, as a significant increase in part-time jobs more than offset a decline in full-time employment.

Part-time employment rose by 20,200 people to 3.4 million due to an increase in female part-time employment, while full-time employment declined by 9,800 to 8.1 million people.

The number of people unemployed increased by 2,000 people to 659,600 in January, said the ABS.

The seasonally-adjusted aggregate hours worked declined by 3.9 million hours to 1.62 billion hours in January.

Labour force participation rate, the percentage of people either in work or looking for work, declined by 0.1 percentage points to 65.0 percent for the month.

The January labour data which came against the economists' outlook indicates that the economy is more resilient than the general perception.

Earlier, Australia's central bank left its benchmark cash rate unchanged at three percent in line with economists' expectations, citing an improving global economy and tolerable inflation rate.

However, retail data for December was weaker than expected, with retail sales declining 0.2 percent for the third straight month. Additionally, the National Australia Bank's quarterly business survey indicated that business conditions were at their weakest since the June quarter of 2009, especially in the construction, manufacturing and mining sectors.

The weak figures are expected to prompt the central bank for a rate cut next month.

Following the employment data, the Australian dollar declined slightly against the US dollar. The Aussie is trading at US$1.03, down 0.02 percent, as at 11.34 pm ET.