Bill's Media Releases

Biggest monthly jobs increase in 13 years

Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that seasonally adjusted employment surged by 71,500 in February (exceeding all market expectations), to stand at a record high of 11,628,300.  This is the strongest monthly increase in jobs growth since July 2000.

Seasonally adjusted full-time employment increased by 17,800 in February 2013, to stand at 8,117,400, while part-time employment rose by 53,700, to a record high of 3,510,800.

The unemployment rate in Australia remained steady, at 5.4 per cent in February, as more Australians were encouraged to join the labour force and look for work.

Indeed, the labour force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage points in February, to stand at 65.3 per cent.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten and Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis both welcomed today’s much stronger than expected employment result, highlighting that 926,000 jobs have been created since the Labor Government came to office in November 2007 (or around 480 jobs per day), an excellent achievement given the turbulent global conditions over the past five years.

The strong jobs growth in February takes the number of jobs created over the past year to almost 200,000, including more than 133,000 since the introduction of the carbon price on 1 July.  This equates to some 550 jobs created each day since the price on carbon came into effect in Australia.

While some challenges remain for the Australian economy and labour market, we nonetheless have an enviable combination of impressive growth, low unemployment, low interest rates, contained inflation, low debt and a significant pipeline of investment.

“The Gillard Government will not rest on its laurels, however, and will continue to bed down our substantial reform and prudent policy agenda, to help strengthen the economy and labour market and secure our future prosperity,” Mr Shorten said.

“Increasing employment opportunities have always been at the centre of the Government’s plans for the future, which is why we have also announced A Plan for Australian Jobs, which contains wide-ranging measures to improve the quality and number of employment opportunities for Australians now and into the future,” Minister for Employment Kate Ellis said.

“A key plank of this plan is the Venture Australia package, which includes a new $350 million round of equity funding through the Innovation Investment Fund.  This will turn the bright ideas of our innovators into new products, services, firms and, ultimately, jobs, by attracting more private sector investment into the high-risk venture capital market, to support the growth of competitive start-up firms and help foster employment growth,” she said.

“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,” Mr Shorten said.

“The Gonski school reforms are a central component of our plan and we will be putting in place the savings to ensure that they are a key part of this year’s Budget.”

“In tandem, the Government will be 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,” he said.

Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804