The Australian unemployment rate was unchanged at a near 50-year low of 3.9 per cent in May, when economists had expected a further decline..

The number of people employed rose by 60,600 in the month following a small 4000 increase in April, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said on Thursday.

ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said the small rise in April had coincided with Easter, school holidays, impacts from floods and ongoing disruptions associated with the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

“The increase in May 2022 was the seventh consecutive increase in employment, following the easing of lockdown restrictions in late 2021,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Average employment growth over the past three months – 30,000 – continues to be stronger than the pre-pandemic trend of around 20,000 people per month.”

Various gauges of job advertising show hundreds of thousands of jobs are up for grabs, but a lack of skilled workers, partly due to the closure of international borders during the pandemic, are leaving many unfilled.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Andrew McKellar says Australian businesses are facing the second worst workforce shortages in the OECD.