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October 18, 2018

Labor welcomes the improvement in the unemployment rate in today’s Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force figures, but remains concerned about underlying structural problems such as stubbornly high underemployment and stagnant wages growth.

While there was a modest increase in the number of jobs created, we note the participation rate dropped 0.24 percentage points to 65.4 per cent, meaning that the amount of people looking for work fell sharply. This is the largest drop in the participation rate since August 2016. The number of unemployed persons looking for full time work decreased by 38,000.

Of particular concern is the youth unemployment rate which is more than double the national average at 11.4 per cent.

Labor remains very concerned about the labour market’s structural problems. The number of underemployed and underutilised Australians – that is people wanting more work but not being able to find it – remains stubbornly high at more than a million.

When coupled with the number of unemployed, it means there are 1.7 million Australians who want work or more work but can’t find it.

We note that just yesterday, the deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank noted the link between Australia’s high underutilisation rate and stagnant wages growth, and expressed concern about the stubborn rate of long term unemployment, “given the adverse social and economic consequences”.

Anglicare Australia’s report Jobs Availability Snapshot 2018, released today, provides further evidence of the problems which sit below the headline unemployment figure. Anglicare’s report highlighted that entry level job seekers are facing relentless challenges, with at least 4 job seekers competing for each entry level role. There are not enough entry level positions for the people who want and need them, with 111,000 entry level jobseekers, but only 26,000 entry level jobs.

Yet, you will never hear Morrison and his Liberals talking about these numbers, or doing anything to support the people those numbers represent.
Under Scott Morrison and his Liberals, Australians are suffering with insecure work, stagnant wages and skyrocketing cost of living pressures. Everything is going up in Australia except for wages.

Mr Morrison and his Liberals are too pre-occupied with fighting themselves instead of focusing on the needs of Australians.

This is a Muppet Show that supports cuts to wages through slashing penalty rates while spending years advocating for a $17 billion tax handout to the banks.