Release type: Media Release


Employment hits record high


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, despite ongoing global uncertainty and patchwork pressures in the economy, seasonally adjusted employment expanded strongly in March, increasing by 44,000 (well above all market expectations) to a record high of 11,491,200.

Encouragingly, seasonally adjusted full-time employment rose by 15,800 in March 2012, while part-time employment increased by 28,200.

Reflecting today’s positive employment result, the unemployment rate in Australia remained at 5.2 per cent, one of the lowest rates of unemployment in the industrialised world and less than half that of the Euro area.

The labour force participation rate also increased in March, by 0.2 percentage points to 65.4 per cent.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, welcomed today’s stronger  than expected result, highlighting that almost 790,000 jobs had been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007, an outstanding achievement given the rest of the world has seen the disappearance of more than 27 million jobs over a similar period.

“The low unemployment rate here in Australia is a testament to the success of Labor’s economic management and the resilience of our economy. Today’s result is particularly encouraging in the face of ongoing global uncertainty and the difficult conditions facing some sectors, like the pressures from the high dollar and cautious consumer,” the Minister stated.

According to Minister Shorten, however, “the challenge will be to build the nation’s human capital to help boost productivity, so that workers will have access to the job opportunities of the future.”

“This Government will continue with the critical reforms and hard policy choices that have made our labour market the envy of the industrialised world, and will continue to get on with the job of building a stronger, sustainable and more secure domestic economy,” Minister Shorten said.

To this end, the Government is investing more than $11 billion in vocational education and training and $3 billion over six years for the Building Australia’s Future Workforce initiative (one of the largest training and workforce participation packages in this nation’s history), to ensure that Australians have the skills they need for the job opportunities that will emerge in the new economy.

International Unemployment Rates (%) 

International unemployment rates (%)