I welcome the release of today's labour force figures, which showed more people in work and more people looking for work.
These figures show that in the month of January – when natural disasters were causing unprecedented damage and destruction to parts of our country – the Australian economy still created 24,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate remained stable at 5.0 per cent and the participation rate increased to 65.9 per cent from 65.8 per cent.
Today's figures build on the creation of 364,000 jobs in 2010 – the biggest calendar year increase in employment on record.
In just over three years, we've created 740,000 jobs while the rest of the world has shed around 30 million jobs.
It shows that Australia's unemployment rate remains among the lowest in the industrial world, in stark contrast to the stubbornly high jobless levels seen in the US and Europe.
This is a really encouraging start to the year, which demonstrates that no matter how much nature can throw at us the fundamentals of our economy have not been shaken.
The result should provide confidence about our nation's outlook as our battered communities and businesses begin the long task of rebuilding.
10 February 2011