SYDNEY (Reuters) – Australia’s jobless rate stayed near five-decade lows at 3.5% in September, though there was a potential sign of loosening in the very tight labour market as employment rose by much less than expected.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday showed net employment rose just 900 in September from August, when they jumped 36,300. That was well short of market forecasts for an increase of 25,000.

The jobless rate held at 3.5%, as did the participation rate at 66.6%. Hours worked in the month were also flat, another hint that activity might be slowing.

(Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

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