The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Bill Shorten

Bill Shorten

Minister for Financial Services & Superannuation

14 September 2010 - 1 July 2013

Media Release of 16/02/2012

NO.005

Employment Figures Show More Australians in Work Than Ever Before, Despite Global Conditions

Labour force figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show more Australians have a job than ever before, reflecting the underlying strength and resilience of the Australian labour market and the strong fundamentals in the Australian economy.

While particular sectors are clearly experiencing pressures, employment surged by 46,300 in January to stand at a record high of 11,463,900.

Today's result was driven by a 12,300 increase in full-time employment and a 34,000 increase in part-time employment in the month of January.

Encouragingly, the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points in January to 5.1 per cent, even as the participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage points to 65.3 per cent.

Today's figures also show that in the 12 months since January 2011, employment has risen by 37,500.

The Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Bill Shorten, welcomed today's positive results which underscore the success of Labor's economic management in the face of a significant downturn in Europe, and demonstrates this Government's commitment to keep the nation working.

"Since Labor came to office, more than 760,000 jobs have been created, a remarkable result given the rest of the world has seen the disappearance of around 25 million jobs", the Minister said.

"Moreover, Australia's unemployment rate is now less than half that seen in Europe, and significantly lower than many of the major advanced economies."

Despite today's very encouraging result, Minister Shorten acknowledged that the labour market had been softer in recent months and noted that some industries and regions were still doing it tough, particularly due to global instability and the high dollar.

In recognition of the difficulties that some people are clearly experiencing, and in order to equip them with the skills needed for the jobs of tomorrow, the Government is delivering one of the largest skills packages in our nation's history.

The Building Australia's Future Workforce Package is providing a significant investment in increasing participation among key groups who are at risk of falling behind. This includes 39 measures which:

  • Reward work and provide new opportunities to get people into employment through training, education, and improved childcare and employment services;
  • Introduce new requirements for the very-long term unemployed, Disability Support Pensioners, teenage parents, jobless families and young people; and
  • Take new approaches to address entrenched disadvantage in targeted locations.

The Government is also investing a further $8.5 billion in employment services over the next four years to assist people back into employment. Since Job Services Australia has been operating, nearly 1.1 million job placements have been made. Of these, 38 per cent were jobs for the most disadvantaged job seekers.
The Government's skills and training initiatives and its broader reform agenda are vital to lifting Australia's prosperity, by increasing productivity and workforce participation, and are essential to maintaining economic and employment growth in Australia over the longer term.

CANBERRA