The continuing strength of the Australian jobs market has gone and upset all those carefully thought out forecasts for a rise in the unemployment rate, and produced another month of solid jobs growth. It was another bit of economic news that won’t produce any change in Reserve Bank thinking except to say “told you so”; the economy continues to power on. So no “rate cut pressure rises” headlines.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics this morning show that 14,000 new jobs were created last month on a seasonally adjusted basis. The unemployment rate remains at 5.2%, unchanged from June, and not the rise to 5.3% as widely forecast by commentators and business economists. In fact the jobless rate was down from the revised 5.3% rate for June (5.2% originally).

The 14,000 new jobs in July were a bit better than the median market estimate for a 10,000 rise, and partly reversed the substantial 27,000 fall in June.

Apart from the usual volatility in the seasonally-adjusted participation rate, there was little to report on the state front: unemployment in NSW and Victoria rose 0.1 point to 5.2%; NSW had a fractional increase in participation, while Victoria had a 0.3% drop. Queensland had a big rise in unemployment, 0.5 points to 5.3%, but that was on the back of a significant 0.4% increase in participation. South Australia had the opposite — a full 1 point drop in unemployment with a 0.6 point drop in participation. WA unemployment edged up 0.1 to 3.6%, with a fall in participation of 0.4 of a point.

The ABS reported the monthly aggregate “hours worked” series showed an increase in July, up 13.4 million hours to 1,625.1 million hours from a revised June 2012 estimate (1.602.1 million originally reported). That revision, by the way, turned a loss of 19.6 million hours in June into a small gain of around 6 million, which makes the month a bit better than it seemed from first glance.

The ABS reported a labour force participation rate of 65.2% in July, steady on the June reading.

On a trend basis (which attempts to strip out the month to month volatility of the seasonally adjusted series), the unemployment rate was steady on 5.2% and the participation rate was also steady on 65.3%. On a trend basis, employment increased to 11,517,500 from 11,516,700 in June, and the ABS reported that unemployment increased to 631,700 from June’s 622,800.

Some analysts remain unconvinced about the strength of the labour market. AMP’s Shane Oliver said:

“While the jobs market has held up better than expected, it’s still not particularly strong. Australia really needs to generate annual jobs growth of around 150,000 to stop unemployment from rising. The only reason unemployment hasn’t increased by more than it has over the last year, where it’s gone from 5.1% to 5.2%, is that the participation rate has fallen …. we continue to see a modest rise in unemployment by year end, but it will probably peak around 5.5% rather than closer to 6% as previously expected.”

That adjustment in expectations reflects the RBA’s sound judgment in moving to cut interest rates when it did, from the end of last year through the first half of this year, but resisting the doom ‘n’ gloom types who were predicting disaster and calling for much bigger cuts. The economy is still performing well, and the RBA still has plenty of ammunition if Europe blows up (even more).