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Unemployment figures

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Office of the Leader of the Opposition



Parliament House Canberra, A C T . 2600

Release N o :

Statement by the Hon. E.G. Whitlam, Q .C ., Μ . P . 3 September 1976

The statement issued today by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations constitutes the latest and gravest example of concealment by the Government of essential statistics. . '

Mr Street's action demonstrates that: the Commonwealth Statistician should be given the task of issuing promptly and fully an analysis of employment figures. The Statistician's work is for the public benefit and should not be-made the subject of ministerial manipulation or partisan interference. As is; the case with respect to all other essential economic djndicators - on

prices, production, and trade, the Statistician should be empowered to issue the statistics with respect to the labour market.

Figures on the state of the labour market are a vital indicator of the health of our economy. They, must therefore be stated clearly and objectively. 'it has long been established that seasonal adjustment of unemployment

figures is essential to that clarity and objectivity.

Mr Street's statement deals with Au|ust 1976. The deception involved in the abolition of seasonal adjustment for August 1976 is revealed by reference to the situation in August 1975· ί

In August 1975 unemployment decreased by 3 > 000 . In August 1976, the total number of persons uiiemployed was markedly higher than in August 1975 but in addition, the seasonal decrease in persons unemployed in August 1976 was

only 2 ,400 . The trend is clear. The overall rate of

unemployment today is increasing and Mr Street's plan to abolish the publication of seasonally adjusted figures manifestly seeks to conceal this fact. J


Mr Street's decision today is not without precedent. His Government decided in recent months to deceive the public in other important areas of employment. It hg.s sought to impede registration by aborigines with the Commonwealth Employment Service and it has similarly restricted the

availability of the Service and of unemployment benefits to school leavers. '