SYDNEY, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Australia's unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent in May, from 5.6 percent in April, according to latest job figures.
Employment grew by 12,000 positions and the participation rate fell to 65.5 percent, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Thursday.
"The latest data tells us that over the past year both the trend unemployment rate and underemployment rate declined by 0.2 percent," the bureau's chief economist Bruce Hockman said.
While the unemployment rate "edged down" in May, the under-utilization rate held steady suggesting that there is still "plenty of slack" in the labor market, economic research consultancy Capital Economics' Australia and New Zealand economist Kate Hickie said in an analysis.
The "modest" 12,000 rise in employment in May was "weaker than expected" and "smaller than the 18,300 increase in April," she said.
"And while the unemployment rate did fall from 5.6 percent in April to a six-month low of 5.4 percent in May, that was only because the labor force declined by 14,800."