Release type: Media Release


Employment hits record high


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

Today’s labour force figures highlight the resilience of the Australian economy in the face of global headwinds and the impact of a sustained high dollar.

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that employment increased by 10,400 in January (slightly above median market expectations) to stand at 11,549,100, a record high.

This result was driven by an increase in part-time employment of 20,200, partly offset by a decline in full-time employment of 9,800.

Today’s results also confirmed that Australia’s unemployment rate remains low at 5.4 per cent, unchanged from the previous month.

The labour force participation rate declined marginally, by 0.1 percentage points to stand at 65.0 per cent.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, noted that “despite some patchiness in parts of the economy, Australia’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the developed world, with more people in work than ever before.

“Today’s result underscores the resilience of the labour market in the face of ongoing global challenges, and structural changes from the high dollar and cautious consumer behaviour.”

“Nearly 850,000 jobs have been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007 (or around 450 jobs per day), an outstanding result given that 28 million jobs have been lost around the world over the same period.

“While a number of challenges remain for our economy and labour market, Australia nonetheless has an impressive combination of solid growth, low unemployment, low interest rates, contained inflation and very strong public finances.

“The Government’s fiscal discipline has given the Reserve Bank scope to repeatedly cut rates over the past fifteen months, and lower interest rates will continue to provide support to sectors of our economy that have been under pressure.”

“The Government will not rest on its laurels, however, and will continue with its substantial reform and prudent policy agenda, to strengthen the economy and labour market so we ensure there are better opportunities for all Australians.”

The release of these figures today comes as the first of Tony Abbott’s secret plans for Australian workers comes to light.

“In a secret policy outed today, it’s clear that the Liberals plan to move almost 46,000 jobs out of places like Western Sydney and Melbourne to places like Karratha.

“Labor believes in growing jobs, not shifting them around the country,” Mr Shorten said.