Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt said the ABS Labour Force numbers released today show there is work ahead to grow Queensland jobs.
Trend unemployment fell 0.1% in February 2015 to 6.5%.
“Even though monthly data can fluctuate, the underlying trends are disappointing, and reinforces the priority we will place on creating jobs collaboratively with business and industry,” Mr Pitt said.
“The number of Queenslanders with a job has risen only 6,400 over the past year, not enough to keep pace with new jobseekers entering the market.
The number of unemployed has risen 30,300 since March 2012.
The trend participation rate was 65.3% in February 2015, down 0.6 percentage point, over the year.
When Labor was last in office, the participation rate stood at 66.9% and unemployment was 5.5%.
Our policies aim to increase both employment and participation in the economy.
The Treasurer said ABS data revisions in today’s release also reveal jobs growth over recent years was actually weaker than previously thought, with year-average employment rising only 1.4% in 2013-14 and 0.1% in 2012-13.
Mr Pitt said the seasonally adjusted figures need to be treated with caution until the ongoing ABS survey issues are resolved, making trend data the ABS-advised measure of the labour market.
“However, there are some positive signs emerging with trend dwelling approvals rising 2.6% in January 2015, to be 8.0% higher over the year,” Mr Pitt said
“In terms of consumer spending, last Thursday’s retail trade figures showed nominal retail sales in Queensland rebounded solidly in December and January, following weakness during most of 2014.
“And, increases in the value of meat and minerals along with Queensland’s first shipment of liquefied natural gas saw the nominal value of Queensland merchandise exports grow by 5.8% over the year to the January quarter 2015.
“Today’s labour force figures highlight the importance of the Government’s jobs agenda.
“The lower participation rate shows that we need to get more people employed by creating more job opportunities to encourage people back into the workforce.
“We’re focused on opportunities to address the rising unemployment recorded under the former government.
“We need to work with business and industry to help create secure jobs and training for those seeking work or changing jobs.”
The Treasurer said the government was committed to jobs through its employment programs including:
- the $40 million Business Development Fund to invest in joint ventures with start-up firms wanting to turn their bright ideas into new products and create jobs
- Jobs Queensland – a round-table authority to advise on current and future skills demand and long-term workforce planning $40 million over four years
- Skilling Queenslanders for Work employment programs to support 32,000 Queenslanders back into employment
- Ready for Work to get young people ready for entering the jobs market, funded under Skilling Queenslanders for Work
- $45 million in payroll tax rebates for employers taking on apprentices and trainees
- ensuring 10% of workers on major projects are apprentices and trainees
- $50 million over three years to implement the Advance Queensland program to develop the jobs of tomorrow
“We are serious about addressing the number of Queenslanders who are out of work, particularly our youth and those in regional areas,” Mr Pitt said.
“We will work hard to ensure our employment programs repair the damage the Newman Government has inflicted on the economy since March 2012.
“Our Government’s focus has been and always will be on jobs.”
Source: News Release, Government of Queensland, 12 March, 2015