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8 unemployed Australians for every vacancy.



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Senator John Cherry Australian Democrats Employment Spokesperson

January 9, 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/004

8 unemployed Australians for every vacancy

ABS data released today showing that the number of unemployed for every job vacancy rose from 5.7 to 7.9 in the last year is further evidence that the Howard Government’s economic policies are not delivering the jobs that are needed, according to the Australian Democrats.

Democrats Employment spokesperson Senator John Cherry said it was a sad endorsement of Howard Government policies that there were 8 job seekers for every vacancy despite nine years of economic growth.

“Since Tony Abbott became Employment Minister and accused the unemployed of being ‘job snobs’, the job prospects of the unemployed have deteriorated sharply, from 5.7 unemployed people for every vacancy to almost 8,” Senator Cherry said.

“Yet all we hear from this Government is more ‘blaming of the victims’ rather than discussion about how to improve Australia’s job market.

“Simply put, Australia’s economic growth is not producing enough jobs because the Government is not putting sufficient attention on employment targets in its policies.

“Since 1995, the Howard Government has reduced Australia’s unemployment rate by just 1.3%. By contrast, other OECD countries have achieved much bigger reductions - Canada by 2.2%, Britain by 3.5%, the Netherlands by 4.7%, Sweden by 4.8% (since 1997), and Ireland by 8.4%.

“These countries have given more priority to employment, regional development, education, innovation, industry and social policy than the economic rationalists who dominate Australian policy making.

“World best practice economic policy is delivering far better outcomes than 8 unemployed people for every job vacancy. Unfortunately, Australia’s economic policies fall well short of world best practice economics,” Senator Cherry concluded.

Unemployment rate: Selected OECD countries 1995- 2001:

Country 2001* 2000 1999 1998 1997 1996 1995

Australia 7.1 6.3 7 7.7 8.6 8.6 8.5

Ireland 3.9 4.2 5.6 7.5 10.1 11.6 12.3

Netherlands 2.2 2.9 3.4 4.0 5.2 6.3 6.9

Britain 5.2 5.5 6.1 6.3 7.0 8.2 8.7

Sweden 5.1 5.9 7.2 8.3 9.9 9.7 9.5

Canada 7.3 6.8 7.6 8.3 9.2 9.7 9.5

USA 5.4 4.5 4.2 4.0 4.9 5.4 5.6

(Source: OECD Standardised Unemployment Rate *2001 is latest monthly figure)

For further information: Pam Hose 07 3252 9129 or 0408 752 750