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More full-time jobs in the 12 months: minister

Far more Australians landed part-time jobs last month than full-time positions, but Employment Minister Michaelia Cash argues the bigger picture tells a different story.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.2 per cent in May, on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

An extra 42,300 people found work in the month, 94 per cent of them in part-time jobs.

Labor argues that ratio is bad news for people wanting to make ends meet.

“The message for people aspiring to pay all their bills is that quite simply they have a government with a very different plan and it’s not about them,” industrial relations spokesman Tony Burke told reporters in Sydney.

Senator Cash said people should look at the bigger picture, with full-time positions making up almost three quarters of the 360,000 new jobs created in the past 12 months.

Part-time jobs aren’t bad news either, she stressed.

“I will never stand here and demean any type of employment,” she told reporters in Canberra.

The minister plans to continue the government’s focus on reducing youth unemployment, which hasn’t moved too far from 11 per cent for the past couple of years.

The figure, relating to people aged between 15 and 24, edged up by less than 0.1 per cent to be 11.8 per cent on a trend basis in May.

“We won’t stop in terms of our commitment to tackling youth unemployment,” Senator Cash said.

The monthly underemployment rate edged 0.1 points higher to 8.6 per cent in May, to Labor’s chagrin.

“We need to have a government that cares about this,” Mr Burke said about the metric, which reflects people who want to be working more hours than they are.

The latest jobless figure is what economists had been expecting, after a surprising uptick in April that ultimately forced the Reserve Bank to cut the official interest rate to a new record low last week.

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