SYDNEY, March 16 (Xinhua) -- The joblessness rate in Australia has increased to 5.9 percent, according to official figures released Thursday.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicated an 0.2 percent rise in unemployment, which was widely expected among analysts to remain stable.
Kate Hickie, economist at Capital Economics, told Xinhua the rise in the unemployment rate shows there is plenty of "slack" in the labor market.
"As such, the labor market is unlikely to generate much inflationary pressure for the foreseeable future," Hickie said.
Across the board, 6,400 jobs were lost in February, with part-time employment numbers down by 33,500, but full-time employment was on the increase with 27,100 jobs created over the past month.
Hickie said Thursday's figures are a "worrying signal" about the direction of the Australian labor market.
"The underutilization rate, which takes into account the unemployed and those workers who are employed but willing to work more hours, rose from 14.1 percent to a two-year high of 14.6 percent," Hickie said.
"In this low inflation environment, if the unemployment rate were to rise notably, this could be enough to prompt a further rate cut by the Reserve Bank."
John Peters, a senior economist at the Commonwealth Bank, said the data released on Thursday will result in lacklustre retail and consumer spending, while also having implications for the Australian government.
"These anaemic trends in jobs growth and associated feeble wages growth also hold major ramifications for the Federal fiscal outlook as the government struggles to find a path to medium-term budget surpluses," Peters said.
In past cycles, more robust wages growth led to significant bracket creep, meaning higher wages pushed people into higher tax brackets, a dynamic which helped nudge the budget balance back to surplus.