Release type: Media Release


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


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that Australia still has one of the best unemployment rates in the world.  

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage points to 5.2 per cent in June, but remains well below most other advanced economies and stands in stark contrast to the stubbornly high rate of 8.2 per cent in the US and 11.1 per cent in the Euro area. 

While seasonally adjusted employment fell by 27 000 in June 2012, today’s result follows the addition of 78 800 jobs over the previous three months. 

Full-time employment fell by 33 500 in June (following on from last month’s increase of 36 400), while part-time employment increased by 6 600. 

While global instability, structural change and the high dollar are putting pressure on parts of our economy, our economic fundamentals remain strong, with solid growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, strong public finances and a record pipeline of business investment. 

Australia’s pipeline of investment in resources is now worth half a trillion dollars, up from $456 billion just six months ago. 

The Australian economy remains the standout performer of the developed world, with our economy predicted to grow more strongly than every major advanced economy over the next two years.  

Around 800,000 jobs have been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007, an outstanding result given the rest of the world is experiencing increasing debt problems and crippling unemployment. 

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten said “in the face of too many doom and gloom headlines the Australian economy is clearly performing strongly compared to the rest of the world.” 

“But the Government is acutely aware that our patchwork economy continues to put some Australian businesses and families under pressure”. 

“We have recently announced the ‘Benefits of the Boom’ package which will help ease the cost of living pressures for many families, while also assisting businesses struggling in the retail, manufacturing and other sectors due to the high dollar.” 

While the unemployment rate for the June quarter has come in below the Budget forecast of 5.25 per cent, the Government still expects the unemployment rate to tick up slightly in the period ahead. 

The Gillard Government is investing $9.3 billion in Job Services Australia over the next four years to provide tailored assistance to unemployed people to assist them back into employment.

The Government is also investing $15.6 billion in the vocational education and training sector over the next four years as well as $3 billion over six years for the Building Australia’s Future Workforce initiative (BAFW), one of the largest training and workforce participation packages ever, to ensure that Australians have the skills they need for the job opportunities that will emerge in the new economy.

Australia's unemployment rate graph