Australia’s economy added 47,300 jobs in February – three times what many analysts had been expecting.
The boost follows two months of disappointing jobs growth, leading many to worry about a slowdown in the country’s economy.
The unemployment rate held steady at 6% as more workers said they were looking for jobs.
Australia’s economy has been helped by the central bank’s decision to keep interest rates low to boost demand.
The country’s surprise jobs boom comes as New Zealand’s central bank announced an interest rate increase.
That makes New Zealand the first advanced economy to increase rates after years of recession and anaemic growth.
New Zealand’s economy has been booming, helped by strong Chinese demand for its dairy products, and rebuilding efforts in Christchurch, which was hit by a devastating earthquake in 2011.
“With inflationary pressures building, there is a need to return interest rates to more normal levels,” said the central bank in a statement.
New Zealand’s currency strengthened on news of the hike – a sign that markets had been well primed for the news.