Feb 13, 2014

Labour loss: unemployment hits 6% for the first time in a decade

Unemployment has reached a 10-year high but the news from the ABS today wasn't all bad, Glenn Dyer and Bernard Keane write. Employers are hedging their bets on which way the economy will go.

Australia’s unemployment rate has hit 6% for the first time since 2003 (though it’s come close a few times), with 3700 jobs estimated to have been lost last month. The overall tone of the figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics was again patchy, with lots of gloomy signs, but also the odd glimmer of light.

Those glimmers — hours worked jumped over 1% (seasonally adjusted aggregate hours worked  increased by 20.5 million hours to 1,635.8 million hours) and there were 3,400 more higher part time jobs (again, seasonally adjusted) — are both characteristic of employers undecided about the outlook for their business. As a result, they don’t know whether to hire, or fire – so more work is handed out to existing full time employees, or more part-timers are hired, while business wait and see how demand is going.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

8 thoughts on “Labour loss: unemployment hits 6% for the first time in a decade

  1. The Pav

    What do you expect with almost wall to wall LNP govt

    Would somebody please put to bed the lie that the LNP is in anyway capable as economic managers

  2. Matt Hardin

    Given that these are based on surveys and not actual population counts, what is the margin of error in the figures?

  3. Jimmyhaz

    This is a higher unemployment rate than at any time during the GFC, and yet the LNP are the better economic managers?

  4. klewso

    So they’ll have to change the way they count them now?

  5. bjb

    Agree entirely with the observation that the LNP are NOT the better economic managers. Until the GFC, we used to hear ad nauseum that interest rates would always be lower under the LNP, and finally that meme was killed off. Given the decimation of industry in Oz under the LNP watch, it’s hard to see how they can make any claim to being good economic managers. (But, I guess as they’re really only managing for the 1% they don’t really care).

  6. Jimmyhaz

    Somewhat ironically, interest rate’s will be lower under the LNP government. The lack of government spending means that the RBA will have to take drastic action to keep the economy running (perhaps we will have a US-like situation, where interest rates are net negative?)

    Spot on with the managing the 1% comment though, I wish the LNP had to put that qualifier in their advertising, in the same vain that drug companies have to note all their side effects.

  7. AR

    As in elections it not the votes/UE numbers that matter but who counts them, how.

  8. Jean Wyldbore

    On what highly spurious data is the ‘unemployment’ figure based anyway? My understanding is that someone is classed as ’employed’ if they are paid for more than five hours a week. Hardly a gold standard for precision…
    How about some realism with the figures,and a change of this outdated dataset to reflect the changing nature of contemporary employment?

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details