Release type: Media Release


Australia’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the industrialised world


The Hon Kate Ellis MP
.Acting Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show Australia’s labour market remains resilient in the face of uncertainties in the global economy.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.4 per cent in December, but remains well below most other advanced economies, and stands in stark contrast to the 7.8 per cent recorded in the US and 11.8 per cent in the Euro area.

Seasonally adjusted employment fell by 5,500 in December 2012, from a record high in November. This result was largely driven by Queensland (where employment fell 22,900), partly offset by solid jobs growth in other states such as Victoria and New South Wales. Jobs growth was also strong in South Australia, with 4,900 jobs created in December.

Seasonally adjusted full-time employment fell by 13,800 in December, to stand at 8,112,500, while part-time employment increased by 8,300 to stand at 3,426,400. The labour force participation rate remained unchanged at 65.1 per cent.

Nearly 840,000 jobs have been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007, an outstanding result given that much of developed world is experiencing high levels of unemployment, weak or negative economic growth and crippling debt levels.

The Acting Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Kate Ellis, noted that "unlike much of the developed world, Australia has an impressive combination of low unemployment, solid growth, low interest rates, contained inflation, low debt and an enormous investment pipeline. We are also overseeing an historic multi-billion dollar investment in skills and training to ensure our workforce is smart and resilient for the future.”

“Despite our resilient economic performance, the Government is conscious of ongoing patchiness in some sectors of our economy and that some Australian businesses and families are under pressure”.

"That is why the Government will continue to help ease the cost of living pressures for many families, through key steps such as our strict fiscal discipline, which has given the Reserve Bank room to cut interest rates by 175 basis points over the past 14 months. Lower interest rates are continuing to provide support to businesses in the retail, manufacturing and other sectors that have come under pressure from the sustained high Australian dollar and ongoing global headwinds.

“In fact, a family with a $300,000 a year mortgage is paying around $5,000 a year (or $100 a week) less on their repayments than when the Liberals were last in Government in 2007. 

This Government will continue with the critical reforms and far-sighted policy decisions that have made our labour market one of the strongest in the industrialised world,” Ms Ellis said.