Job Creation Lagging Behind Targets
19 January 2015 at 11:30 am
Job creation is lagging behind the Abbott Government’s own targets, according to the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics figures.
The figures showed that unemployment had dropped by 0.2 per cent to 6.1 per cent, with the number of employed Australians growing to 11.7 million.
Last month 37,000 jobs were created, much higher than the 5,000 jobs economists had predicted.
But Shadow Minister for Employment, Brendan O’Connor, said the figures showed Tony Abbott would not be able to deliver on his promise to create one million jobs in five years.
“While it is very pleasing to see Australia’s overall unemployment rate drop to 6.1 per cent, an unemployment rate with a six in front of it is still too high,” O’Connor said.
“Labor has concerns that there is increased underemployment, with the number of seasonally adjusted aggregate monthly hours worked decreasing by 7.7 million hours in December 2014 – 0.5 per cent.
“Today’s figures show that Tony Abbott has lied again, as he can’t keep his promise to create one million jobs in five years.
“Even with today’s decrease in the unemployment rate, Tony Abbott remains tens of thousands behind his modest target.
“Tony Abbott likes to talk about focusing on jobs, be where is the plan to create jobs for the 760,000 Australian unemployed jobseekers?
“The Government should be working on delivering the conditions to improve job creation – not sitting idly by and watching iconic companies shed jobs.”
Social Ventures Australia (SVA) said it was calling for government, business and community organisations to work together on innovative approaches to improve the employment situation.
“All the indicators show that a new approach to jobs is needed if we are to enable all Australians real opportunity to be involved in meaningful employment,” Executive Director of Employment at SVA Kevin Robbie said.
“We need to shift the mindset from cost cutting to understanding that clever investment in this issue now will mean real savings in the future. Otherwise we risk creating a lost generation, with significant social problems and welfare spending arising from that.
“Part of the solution will come from looking at best practice internationally and how to bring that into Australia, as well as how to scale initiatives that are already working here. Successful school-to-work transition programs like those run by the Beacon Foundation will be a critical part of that, as will including employers in the design of training and placement programs.
“We know that employers are willing to give young people a fair go but training, employment placement and community support systems need to be more effectively aligned to make this happen.
“Exploring new funding models like social impact bonds and social procurement commitments could also assist in shifting the policy mindset to understand that intelligent social investments can have a positive impact on the sustainability of the government balance sheet into the future.
“With Australia facing significant skills shortages, unemployment is a waste of our productive capacity, and deliberate evidence based policy interventions are needed to turn this around.”
Minister for Employment, Senator Eric Abetz, rebutted comments that the figures were negative.
“The employment figures are very encouraging. What we have is an increase in the participation rate whilst also experiencing a decrease in the unemployment rate,” Abetz said.
“When you have greater confidence of employers employing and workers and potential workers engaging in the jobs market, that is an indication that the jobs market is strengthening and the growth in December is on top of the growth that we experienced in November.
“So at the end of 2014 the employment figures indicate that we enjoyed an average growth rate in jobs of about 17,800 per month, in comparison to the last year of Labor, 2013, where they only averaged an employment increase of about 5000 per month. In other words, we have trebled that which was in Labor’s last year in office.
“So our actions speak a lot louder than the words spoken by Brendan O’Connor and Bill Shorten in recent times. Having said that, the unemployment level of 6.1 per cent is, of course, still too high.”