Release type: Media Release


Labour Force December


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

Labour force figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 per cent in December from the revised unemployment rate of 5.6 per cent in November.

This brings Australia’s unemployment rate to 5.5 per cent while the participation rate in December remained at 65.2 per cent.

The number of Australians employed in December increased by 35,200 to 10.906 million, driven by a rise in part-time employment, together with a rise in full-time employment.

The ABS also reported the number of people unemployed decreased by 10,600 in December to 639,400.

Today's figures provide further evidence of how Australia has outperformed virtually every other advanced economy during the global recession.

Compared to an unemployment rate of 10 per cent in both the US and now Europe, today's result shows what we've achieved by Australians pulling together in tough times and getting behind the Government's stimulus actions.

Visiting Altona Green Primary School in Melbourne today, the Minister pointed specifically to the Government’s Building the Education Revolution package which has helped support jobs during the difficult days of the global recession.

The effect of the Building the Education Revolution Program (BER) can be seen in the ABS Building Approvals statistics for the value of non-residential building approvals.

The ABS seasonally adjusted estimate of the value of non-residential building approvals doubled over the year to November 2009.

The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) has estimated that over a quarter (27.2 per cent) of the total value of non-residential building approvals, in seasonally adjusted terms, over the year to November 2009 is due to the BER.

While it's heartening to see the positive impacts of stimulus, there are still far too many Australians unemployed or working fewer hours than they'd like, with unemployment standing at 639,400 people.

There are still 118,000 more Australians out of work today than there were at the same time last year.

That's why the Government is determined to implement our gradual withdrawal of stimulus to support Australian jobs and businesses as the global recovery gradually flows through.