Labour force figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the unemployment rate remained steady with the revised seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 5.4 per cent.
The number of Australians employed in April increased by 33 700 to just over 11 million Australians, while the number of unemployed rose by 6 500 to 628 100.
This is broadly in line with market expectations of a steady unemployment rate, though the number of jobs created was better than the markets had expected.
April’s employment participation rate also remained steady at 65.2 per cent.
Full-time employment increased 37,500 to 7,735,500 and part-time employment decreased 3,900 to around 3.3 million showing a real shift to full time job creation.
Ms Gillard praised employers and unions who had helped steer Australia through the Global Financial Crisis and global recession by keeping workers engaged in the labour market.
She said that when the GFC began the Treasury was predicting the unemployment rate would peak at 8.5 per cent. Today’s figures confirm that that the peak of unemployment is behind us and this shows the effect of stimulus and Australians working together.
Australia has created 225 000 jobs while many of our trading partners were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs.
The figures are further evidence of our economic robustness, as we continue to outperform almost every other advanced economy. As was highlighted in this week’s Budget, Australian unemployment figures continue to be the envy of the rest of the world.
As announced in this week’s budget, the long term forecast for unemployment is expected to continue to fall, reaching 5 per cent by the June quarter 2011 and 4 ¾ per cent by the June quarter 2012.
With more than 600 000 Australian out of work Ms Gillard said that today's unemployment data also highlights what we are hearing in the community; that times are still tough especially for small business and now more than ever we need the stimulus to support jobs.
Unemployment in our major trading partners remains high, with the United States at 9.9 per cent, the United Kingdom at 7.8 per cent and the Euro Zone at 10.0 per cent. Japan’s unemployment rate remains at 5.0 per cent.
Visiting the Canberra Institute of Technology, the Minister for Employment, Julia Gillard, and the Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare said the Government’s new Skills for Sustainable Growth package would help continue to create jobs for Australians.
The Government is determined to continue to increase workforce participation and build a labour force that is more responsive to market demands.
Central to this plan is our goal to provide all young Australian with access to education and training that will see them enter the workforce in a long-term career.
The Government’s skills package includes an investment of $243 million over the next four years to transform Australia’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) system to provide more Australians with ability to advance their own careers and help strengthen the economy.
The package also includes a National Entitlement to a Quality Training Place so that all young people under 25 years have guaranteed access to a course that enables them to get a first qualification or to lift their qualifications to the next level.
This will particularly assist around 364,000 young Australians who have not attained Year 12 or a Cert II qualification.