The jobless rate remained at 5.8 per cent for a third month in a row in May, but the number of people in employment fell by 4800.

Australia’s strong economic performance at the start of the year has failed to translate into more jobs overall.

New data showed that the number of people employed fell by 4800 in May when economists were expecting a 10,000 increase.

Those in full-time employment did rise 22,200, but were more than offset by a 27,000 drop in part-time workers.

The unemployment rate also remained at 5.8 per cent for a third month in a row.

Earlier, Treasurer Joe Hockey told ABC radio he was hoping for some good news on the unemployment front given that he had inherited a prediction that it would rise to 6.25 per cent.

“So far, it is remaining below six per cent and that is very encouraging,” he said.

The national accounts released last week showed the economy growing at its fastest annual rate in around two years.

The steady jobless rate came despite a rise in the country’s biggest state, NSW, increasing to 5.7 per cent from 5.4 per cent.

It also jumped to 6.8 per cent from 6.2 per cent in South Australia and to five per cent from 4.9 per cent in Western Australia.

However, in Victoria it fell to 6.2 per cent from 6.4 per cent, in Queensland it eased to 6.2 per cent from 6.3 per cent and in Tasmania it declined to 7.5 per cent from 7.6 per cent.

It also fell to 3.3 per cent from 3.5 per cent in the Northern Territory while it was unchanged at 3.3 per cent in the ACT.