Topics: Labour force data;
David Koch: Now, the jobless rate hit a six month high in October, thanks to the lengthy lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria. Unemployment rose from 4.6 per cent to 5.2 per cent, with more than 46,000 jobs shed from the economy. However, that’s partly due to an increase in the participation rate. It rose for the first time since June to sixty four point seven per cent on a seasonally adjusted basis. Joining me now, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham. Minister a bit of a shock. The unemployment rate went up for a lot of people, but it’s sort of unrealistic, isn’t it? The timing of when it was measured is really misleading isn’t it?
Simon Birmingham: This data does show the pain that comes from lockdowns, but also the power and potential of reopening that it was data taken towards the end of September, start of October, when New South Wales and Victoria were still in lockdown, but New South Wales was starting to make strong noises about its reopening path. The vaccine rollout was surging, and so you saw jobs growth in New South Wales, but we still saw more jobs lost in Victoria. However, we still have confidence from that. That is, the reopening occurs and we’re seeing strong business confidence, strong consumer confidence. This should actually see our economy rebound very strongly as we’ve done before.
David Koch: Yeah, everyone should be still pretty positive, shouldn’t they, minister? Because these figures were measured before New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT reopen.
Simon Birmingham: That’s right. These were at some of the hardest, most difficult times for business after a long lockdown. But what we’ve got in place are the plans to really help support businesses out. We’ve got the vaccine rollout, which will get 90 per cent first dose today and we’ve got the reopening that’s happening, but also investment in a range of areas today. The prime minister focussing on more than $30 million in investment in food manufacturing as part of our multibillion dollar modern manufacturing initiative, alongside investments in the digital economy in our agriculture sector. And, of course, a range of other incentives to get businesses to keep growing.
David Koch: Yeah, the economy bouncing back nicely. Simon Birmingham, thanks for joining us.
Simon Birmingham: Thanks, Kochie.