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Friday, 19 July 1946

Mr HOLLOWAY (MELBOURNE, VICTORIA) (Minister for Labour and National Service) - As a matter of policy, the Government examines the labour market week by week. The last examination showed that, at the end of May, the total population of Australia waa approximately 7,400,000 persons. The number of unemployed in Australia this week is about 14,000. Therefore, the percentage of unemployed to the total, population is less than one-fifth of 1 per cent. As the Government considers that that method is not a safe way of gauging the trend of the labour market, we therefore exclude all rural workers- and all female domestic workers, because so many persons in both of those categories are members of the families of the proprietors, and are not salaried employees or wage-workers in the general sense of " employment ". Consequently, we take the figures for the total number of wage-workers or salaried employees in Australia, which now number approximately 2,040,000, and the percentage of unemployed from week to week to that number reflects the trend of the labour market. Hardly more than one-half of I per cent, of the people receiving wages or salaries are at present unemployed. The figures for Tasmania are very good. The total number of persons unemployed in that State is 126, and of that number, 81 are receiving unemployment benefits, arid 45 are getting re-employment allowances, because they are ex-servicemen. Most of them are waiting to start training courses, or to get the right type of jobs for problem cases. One of the most important things which we have to watch is the trend of the labour market. In the last six months, the figures have created two all-time records in Australia. They show the largest number of people earning salaries or wages and the smallest number of unemployed.

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