Despite the creation of 18,000 new jobs, Australia’s unemployment rate has edged up to 5.6 per cent.

Full-time work saw an increase of 64,900 jobs, while part-time figures fell by 47,500.

The new stats mark a record 17 consecutive months of job growth, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The quarterly underemployment rate — a measurement of people who have a job but who want to work longer — rose from 8.3 per cent in November to 8.4 per cent.

The underutilisation rate — obtained by adding unemployment and underemployment rates — increased to 13.9 per cent.

“That's not a big deal, as it remains below the peak of 14.7 per cent a year ago, but it is disappointing that the overall amount of spare capacity is not declining,” says Paul Dales from Capital Economics.

“As such, these data go some way to dashing any remaining expectations that a decent rise in wage growth will prompt the RBA to raise interest rates this year.”

South Australia has the nation’s the highest unemployment rate, with 6.3 per cent in February, though Queensland is close behind at 6.2 per cent.

New South Wales and the Northern Territory were the only jurisdictions to see their unemployment rates drop.