Release type: Media Release


Labour Force - March


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 this morning by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that the unemployment rate remained steady in March with the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate at 5.3 per cent.

This is in line with market expectations. The market had predicted that 20 000 jobs would be created in March.

The figures show that 19,600 jobs were created in March taking the number of Australians in a job to 10,991,900 people. Full time employment rose by around 30,100 while part time employment fell by 10 600, reflecting a move back to full time employment by thousands of working Australians.

Aggregate monthly hours worked increased to 1,540.5 million hours.

This steady result and the move to full time employment shows that employers, workers and unions who worked together to keep people in jobs during the global financial crisis can now begin to raise the number of hours available to workers each week.

More than 122 000 Australians have become unemployed since the beginning of the global financial crisis in September 2008. The number of unemployed Australians sits at 611 000.

Australia’s unemployment rate remains well below that of most major trading partners including the United States at 9.7 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 4.9 per cent.

The result today shows that the stimulus is continuing to work to keep our unemployment rate well below that of most of our major trading partners. Its success means we are in a position to tackle future challenges and not in the midst of a deep recession.

Employers, employees and unions have consistently shown faith in the stimulus package by holding on to workers through the worst of the downturn. The stimulus will continue to be gradually withdrawn as the economy improves and jobs growth returns.

Across the country the unemployment rate declined in Queensland, Northern Territory, the ACT and Tasmania and rose in the other states.