Unemployment rate drops unexpectedly with 37k new jobs

AUSTRALIA'S unemployment rate has unexpectedly dropped to 6.1 per cent as an estimated 37,700 jobs were added to the economy.

The Bureau of Statistics estimates that 31,500 of those jobs were full time, with 6,100 extra part-time positions.

The March unemployment rate decreased less than 0.1 of a percentage point from a downwardly revised 6.2 in February (originally reported as 6.3).

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were typically expecting 15,000 jobs to be added and unemployment to remain steady at 6.3 per cent, but there was a considerable split of views.

The Australian dollar jumped on the data, rising from 77.15 just before 11:30am (AEST) to 77.7 just after, having already posted a gain of around 1.5 cents overnight against the greenback on weak US data.

Read more at ABC News Online.