Apr 10, 2003

Tough time for job seekers


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 10 April 2003

Job seekers, including 1000 Qantas staff who have just lost their jobs, are facing an increasingly tough employment market, with official statistics showing the unemployment rate increased to 6.2 per cent last month.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, last month almost 65,000 full-time jobs were lost. As a result just 71.3 per cent of Australian workers now have a full-time job, the lowest figure on record.

The picture is even worse for women in the labour force. The ABS figures show that, of the 64,800 full-time jobs lost last month, about 60,000 were held by women. Because of this loss the number of women now in full-time work as a proportion of all women in paid work is at an all-time low.

Acting Shadow Employment Minister Anthony Albanese said the figures, coming on top of a report released yesterday by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations showing a six-month fall in employment growth, showed job seekers were in for very tough times.

“All the signs are pointing to a softening labour market, which is very bad news for the 1000 Qantas staff and 400 Mobil workers who have just lost their jobs,” Mr Albanese said.

“The Howard Government has been much more interested in fighting a war in Iraq than the war against growing unemployment.

“The Howard Government’s only answer to the increase in unemployment is to make it easier for bosses to sack workers.

“The fact is that under this government there has been a massive shift to part-time and casual work.

“Almost 2.2 million Australians now have jobs without any entitlement to paid holiday or sick leave, the vast majority of them casual workers with little or no job security.”