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Labour force - February 2000

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   The Hon. Peter Reith, MP       Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business       Leader of the House of Representatives       Parliament House, Canberra ACT 2600

9 March 2000


The unemployment rate fell to 6.7 per cent in February in seasonally adjusted terms according to Labour Force data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Total employment rose by 59,100 in February.  Full-time employment rose by 34,000.  Part-time employment was up 25,100.  Male employment rose by 53,600 and female employment by 5,500.

Over the last year, employment has grown by 3.0 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms.  The number of males in full-time employment has grown by 102,700 and in part-time employment by 16,400.  Over the same period, the number of females in full-time employment has risen by 62,400 and in part-time employment by 75,800.

The participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage points in February to 63.5 per cent.  This compares with its average rate of 63.2 per cent in the year to January 2000 and 62.4 per cent during Labor’s thirteen years in office.  The labour market continues to produce falls in the unemployment rate despite a strong participation rate.  The unemployment rate has now fallen to its lowest level since June 1990.

In trend terms, employment increased by 16,100 and has now risen in each of the last 33 months.  The trend unemployment rate remained steady at 6.8 per cent, but remains on a downward trend and has fallen by 0.7 percentage points over the last twelve months.

In seasonally adjusted terms, teenage full-time employment rose by 1,400 to 241,300.  Over the last year teenage full-time employment rose by 13,000 or 5.7 per cent.

The teenage full-time unemployment rate rose slightly from 22.2 per cent to 22.4 per cent.  This compares with a rate of 27.2 per cent when the current Government was first elected in March 1996 and an average rate during the 1990s of 27.5 per cent.  The proportion of the teenage population who are unemployed and looking for full-time employment remains low at 5.2 per cent.

In its four years in Government, the Coalition has created 653,000 jobs.  In comparison, Labor created only 399,800 jobs in its last six years in Government.

The labour market continues to benefit from the Government’s sound macro-economic management of the economy and to produce opportunities for job seekers.  Sustainable reductions in unemployment can only occur with continued good economic management and further economic reforms. |

For further information contact:    Ian Hanke on 0419 484 095

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