How can Eric Abetz fix unemployment when he doesn't even understand it? - Joint Media Release


Joint media release with Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O'Connor

The man in charge of keeping Australians working has today revealed he lacks even the most basic understanding of the unemployment rate.

In his press conference defending an unemployment figure which stubbornly continues to have a six in front of it, Employment Minister Eric Abetz said:

“a 6, a 5, a 4, a 3, a 2 or a 1 in front of the unemployment figure is unacceptable.”  

Eric Abetz - Press Conference - 10 September 2015

Minister Abetz clearly does not understand even the most fundamental economic principles.

The employment numbers will always record some level of unemployment because of workers moving between jobs. This frictional unemployment can be found in even the healthiest economy.

Economists like to argue over what rate should be considered ‘full employment’. But almost no-one except Minister Abetz seriously believes the headline unemployment number can ever dip below 3 per cent without triggering a sharp rise in inflation.

Structural unemployment counts the number of people who are excluded from the jobs market because there are more people looking for work than there are jobs available.

When economic growth slows to a crawl and consumer confidence collapses like it has under this Government, then structural unemployment starts to rise.

Is it any wonder unemployment has climbed to a 13-year high under this government, when the Employment Minister doesn’t even understand what his own numbers are measuring?

Minister Abetz’s comments are the latest in a long line of gaffes from a Government that is completely out of its depth managing Australia’s economy.

His comments would be laughable if the consequences for his ignorance weren’t so serious for Australian jobseekers.



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