Australian jobless rate is frozen near a 12-year high

The Australian jobless rate is frozen near a 12-year high, so the Abbott government will be hoping this Thursday's March numbers show favourable labour force figures to boost its pre-budget message.

However, economists expect the jobless rate to stick at 6.3% for the second month in a row, remaining close to the 12-year high of 6.4% in January.

Although, Treasurer Joe Hockey's December mid-year budget review forecasts an unemployment rate of 6.5% by the middle of this year, a more up-to-date forecast by the International Monetary Fund this week put our jobless rate at 6.4% in 2015, easing to 6.2% in 2016.

Economists expect slightly more positive news on our employment figures though, predicting a 15,000 person employment increase in March.

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