Time to admit it? Maybe the Government got it right. The unemployment numbers out this morning are nowhere near the horror figures that were feared generally when this global economic crisis started proving so damaging to jobs in the United States and most of Europe. The slight rise in the Australian Bureau of Statistics seasonally adjusted estimate for May of 5.7 per cent is yet another statistic showing that Australia is doing better than other developed economies. There is probably worse yet to come but with luck unemployment might not reach the 7.1 per cent it rose to back in October 2001.
The couple of stimulus packages introduced by the Government clearly have had a considerable impact. Employers are showing themselves extremely reluctant to put off skilled workers which is a sign that confidence about the future is indeed on the rise.
Participation keeps growing. An interesting aspect of this morning’s official figures is the continuing strength of the participation rate. There is no sign at all of people becoming disenchanted and dropping out of the potential workforce. If the participation rate was as it was at the start of this century then the unemployment number would be a couple of percentage points less than that 5.7 per cent.
A problem for Malcolm Turnbull. These numbers are clearly bad news for the personal ambitions of Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull. He needs doom and gloom if he is to even his leadership of the Liberal Party let alone become Prime Minister at the next election. As promises are like pie crust, I will mention Peter Costello and a leadership challenge in the same sentence. His Party will turn and offer him the job if he again seeks pre-selection because the despair will be so great by the end of this year with opinion polls showing Labor heading into the election year with an almighty lead.
NSW leads the way. The premier state surely is living up to its name. The NSW unemployment rate is well above other states and the national average.