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Tuesday, 19 September 1972
Page: 903

Senator WEBSTER - My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour and National Service. I ask the Minister whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of capital city newspapers have today asserted that unemployment, to the end of August, has increased? Is this assertion untrue? Is the Minister aware that the Australian Broadcasting Commission this morning stated that the actual unemployment figure had fallen by 2,375 to 96,800? Is it a fact that there was less unemployment at the end of August than there was a month earlier?

Senator WRIGHT - The fact is that the unemployment figures at the end of August show a decline by 2,375 but on the seasonally adjusted basis the figures show an increase over the figure at the end of July of some 7,000 unemployed persons.

Senator Douglas McClelland (NEW SOUTH WALES) - Which figure does the Government rely on?

Senator WRIGHT - Both are given, but the seasonally adjusted figure is the index which is taken to be the better guide.

I was about to add that lt is highly erroneous to assert, as some have asserted, that unemployment is the highest for 11 years. Since 1961 the work force has increased by no less than 38 per cent, and to take absolute figures in relation to the work force of 1961 and state them without regard to the increase of 38 per cent is completely erroneous and misleading. Of course the thing that has to be noted is that unfortunately the unemployment rate is markedly above the average in the 3 States where Labor governments rule. Western Australia has the highest rate, 2.89 per cent; South Australia has 2.4 per cent and Tasmania 2.36 per cent. All other other States have unemployment rates less than 2 per cent - about 1.6 per cent.

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