Bill's Media Releases

More Australians in full-time work than ever before

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that, despite slower global growth and heightened global uncertainty, there were more people in work and more people looking for work in September.

Employment in Australia increased by 14,500 in September, driven by a strong increase in full-time employment. Full-time employment surged by 32,100 in September, to a record high of 8,107,000, while part-time employment fell by 17,700.

There were also more Australians looking for work in September, with rising workforce participation leading to an increase in the unemployment rate to 5.4 per cent.

“There is no doubt that there are challenges ahead,” said Mr Shorten.

Part of the lift in the number of job seekers was driven by a lift in the participation rate, which increased by 0.2 percentage points (37,300 people) in September to stand at 65.2 per cent.

At 5.4 per cent, Australia’s unemployment rate remains one of the lowest in the developed world, and less than half the unemployment rate seen in Europe.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, highlighted that more than 800,000 jobs had been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007, even with the softening conditions in the Australian labour market.

“This is an outstanding achievement, given the rest of the world continues to grapple with soaring public debt and millions of job losses,” Mr Shorten said.

“It is also pleasing that people are more confident about finding a job.”

“While some challenges remain for the Australian economy and labour market, Australia nonetheless showcases a combination of solid growth, low unemployment, lower interest rates, contained inflation, low debt and an enormous pipeline of investment.”

“The Government remains acutely aware that job shedding is occurring in some sectors of our multi-speed economy and that some Australian businesses and families are under significant pressure,” Mr Shorten said.

“That is why the Gillard Government announced the ‘Benefits of the Boom’ package, which is helping to 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 Australian dollar.”

“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,” Mr Shorten added.

To this end, the Australian economy has already expanded by 11 per cent since late 2007.

The Government is 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 (BAFW) initiative, one of the largest training and workforce participation packages in the nation’s history, to ensure that Australians have the skills they need for the job opportunities that will emerge in the new economy.

Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804

International comparison of employment levels.