Release type: Media Release


Unemployment rate still one of the lowest in the developed world


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

Jobs figures released today by the ABS show that Australia’s labour market remains resilient, with our unemployment rate remaining low at 5.5 per cent.

Seasonally adjusted employment continued to expand in May, increasing by 1100, to stand at a record high of 11,663,300.

Seasonally adjusted part-time employment increased by 6400 in May 2013, to stand at 3,509,600, while full-time employment decreased by 5300 to 8,153,600.

The unemployment rate in Australia decreased from a revised 5.6 per cent in April to 5.5 per cent in May. Labour force participation also declined marginally, by 0.1 percentage points to stand at 65.2 per cent.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, welcomed today’s employment result, highlighting that more than 960,000 jobs have been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007.

Around 480 jobs per day have been created since Labor was elected in 2007.

This stands in stark contrast to the millions of jobs that have been lost across the world since the onset of the GFC, with many developed economies still suffering from very high unemployment rates and persistent economic weakness.

While Australia’s economy has an impressive combination of solid growth, low unemployment, contained inflation, record low interest rates, low debt and a triple A credit rating, it is also going through a major transition.

The resources boom is shifting from unprecedented growth in investment towards strong growth in production and exports, and more broadly the economy is shifting towards non-mining sources of growth, supported by record low interest rates.

This transition has been made harder by the competitive pressures from the high Australian dollar, although the dollar’s recent depreciation will help support activity in trade-exposed industries if sustained.

While these shifts in our economy won’t be seamless, the Government continues to put in place the right policy settings to facilitate the transition underway.

Not only did the Government’s recent Budget put jobs and growth first, but it continues to give the RBA scope to maintain historically low interest rates, and makes room for the smart investments in our future – like historic investments in schools and infrastructure.
The Government’s clear plan to support our economy through this transition stands in stark contrast to the Opposition – who have no plan for the future and would only risk our strong economic fundamentals.

Mr Abbott would only jeopardise jobs and growth with his cuts to the bone. Like other conservative leaders around the country we know he will cut jobs, cut services and strip away the support modern families rely on.
The Gillard Labor Government will continue to bed down our substantial reform agenda, to help strengthen the economy and secure our future prosperity.

Increasing employment opportunities has always been at the centre of the Gillard Government’s plans for the future.

Our greatest responsibility is to invest in our people by enhancing skills and education to help drive Australia’s productivity performance and ensure that all Australians can participate, prosper and contribute in our society.