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Strong job numbers are an early Christmas gift

Opinion Piece

Date : 20 December 2019

Author: The Hon Josh Frydenberg MP

Publication: The Daily Telegraph

As Australians head into Christmas, yesterday’s job numbers represent some positive and good economic news.

With 40,000 new jobs created in the month of November, unemployment fell to 5.2 per cent and youth unemployment also fell a full percentage point.

The workforce participation rate remains around record highs and, significantly, 63 per cent of new jobs created in the last 12 months were taken up by women and six out of 10 of those jobs were full-time.

Since the Coalition came to government, around 1.5 million new jobs have been created, welfare dependency has hit a 30-year low and a record number of Australians are in work. The strength of our labour market stands out, not just in comparison to historical experience here at home but in comparison to experiences abroad.

Australia’s employment growth rate is faster than the US, Canada and the Euro area and more than double the OECD average and nearly three times what we inherited upon coming to government.

While the Labor Party shamelessly and recklessly uses every opportunity to talk down the Australian economy, in effect hoping for a bad set of numbers to seize a political advantage, the reality tells a different tale.

Unemployment was 5.7 per cent when Labor left office compared to 5.2 per cent today.

Real wages, which takes into account inflation, were also lower when Labor was in office compared to what they are today and the real minimum wage went down in three out of the six years under Labor compared to its rise every year under the Coalition.

The gender pay gap has also been closing under the Coalition, seeing a female on full-time average earnings more than $1000 a year better off than under Labor.

It is the combination of the Morrison government’s record $100 billion 10-year infrastructure pipeline, the most significant tax cuts in 20 years, a skills agenda which includes 80,000 new apprenticeships and a focus on moving people from welfare to work which is helping to drive the creation of new jobs.

Programs like PATH, which provides internships and training for those aged between 17-24, and Restart, which provides incentives to businesses to employ workers over 50 years of age, are making a real difference.

When the Coalition came to government, unemployment was rising, business investment was falling and our political opponents had $240 billion in accumulated deficits.

The budget was out of control and the books were a mess.

It’s taken us six years to turn the ship around and last week the government released the Mid-Year Economic Update which showed Australia is on track for its first surplus in 12 years.

This will allow us to pay down Labor’s debt, reduce the nation’s interest bill and free up more money to spend on the essential services that Australians need most.

As other economies have gone backwards this year, we continue to grow.

Australians have every reason to be confident about the Australian jobs market.

Josh Frydenberg is the Federal Treasurer

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