Unemployment set to worsen claims ACCI

By: Chris Smith


Today’s rising jobless numbers warn of unemployment getting worse than expected unless domestic policy takes cost pressures off business say

Today’s rising jobless numbers warn of unemployment getting worse than expected unless domestic policy takes cost pressures off business say industry groups.

Unemployment dropped 47,100 in February from January figures.

That is the largest monthly increase in unemployment for more than ten years.

"There is a clear warning in these figures that the jobless rate will rise faster and steeper than forecasts of 7 percent by mid 2010, unless cost pressure is taken off employers," claim the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

"These rising jobless figures send a direct message to governments and the Reserve Bank. Reduce interest rates further, start cutting payroll tax, and significantly moderate the new industrial relations laws."

"Unless this is done, the intended benefits of the recent stimulus packages will not be fully realised.

"Adding employment regulation onto business in the midst of a recession when the jobless rate is rising like this is high risk. The government’s IR policy, designed in good times, now clearly needs moderation. In the next seven days the Government and the Senate have an obligation to limit the risks of IR re-regulation.

"A failure to do so means Australian policy would be contributing to higher unemployment that is driven by the global recession.

"In addition, now is not the time to introduce an emissions trading regime that will be detrimental to our competitiveness and jobs."

The pace of jobs growth in the economy has effectively stalled over the past year, while unemployment has risen from 3.9 percent to 5.2 percent.

Employment lags activity and there is every expectation that labour market conditions will deteriorate further following the contraction in non-farm GDP in both the September and December quarters of 2008.

Australia’s unemployment rate jumped 0.4 percentage points to 5.2 percent in February as job losses across the country fed through to official data.

The increase in the seasonally adjusted rate was fuelled by a fall in full-time employment, with 53,800 positions shed in the month, as well as a 0.2 percentage point increase in the participation rate.

Part-time employment increased by 55,600, producing an overall gain of 1,800 part-time and full-time jobs.

The male unemployment rate increased by 0.3 percentage points to 5.1 percent, and the female unemployment rate increased by 0.5 percentage points to 5.3 percent

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook