Australia employment dives 65,100 in Dec, jobless steady

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australian employment fell sharply in December after two months of surprisingly strong growth, while the jobless rate held steady as fewer people went looking for work.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed net employment dived 65,100 in December from November, when it surged a revised 72,600. Market forecasts had been for an increase of around 17,600.

Full-time employment sank 106,600 in December. The jobless rate stayed at 3.9%. The participation rate dropped sharply to 66.8%, from a record high of 67.3%.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)