The majority of economists still think interest rates will stay on hold until at least the second half of 2018. Photo: AFP/William West.INTEREST rates are still likely to remain on hold until at least the second half of this year, despite surprisingly strong employment figures.Australia’s jobs boom continued in December with the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealing employment rose by 34,700 in seasonally adjusted terms last month — more than doubling the 15,000 increase that had been expected.But Queensland disappointed, with the state’s unemployment rate rising to a seasonally adjusted 6 per cent. GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE NEWS DIRECT TO YOUR INBOX HERE More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus22 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market22 hours agoThe majority of economists think interest rates are still likely to stay on hold until at least the second half of 2018. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.So what are economists saying about the outlook for interest rates in the wake of the latest figures?CommSec senior economist Ryan Felsman said that while the job market was strong, wages growth was still only modest.“We expect the next move in rates to be up, but not until late in 2018 at the earliest,” he said in a note to clients. CHARMING HOMES AUCTIONED OFF A general view of properties in North Lakes outside Brisbane. Photo: Glenn Hunt/Getty Images.TD Securities chief Asia-Pac macro strategist Annette Beacher agreed there needed to be a “meaningful pick-up” in wages and inflation for the RBA to “shift off its neutral perch”.AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver expects the RBA to raise rates around the end of the year. WHAT SOLD BIG AND WHERE National Australia Bank continues to expect a half a per cent increase in the official cash rate in the second half of this year, while ANZ, on the other hand, predicts interest rates will increase twice this year.