Australia's unemployment rate rose to a six-year high of 5.8 per cent in June as companies shed workers despite the Government's massive stimulus spending.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics said the number of people in jobs fell by 21,400 with a small increase in the number of part-time employees overwhelmed by losses in fulltime employment.

The increase in joblessness was more moderate than economists had predicted. The rate hit 5.8 per cent for the first time since October 2003, rising from 5.7 per cent in May.

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said it was expected that the global financial crisis would continue to affect Australian jobs.