One of the more important promises that Prime Minister Tony Abbott made in September last year was to create jobs at a rate of 200,000 a year. But the scorecard for the first year is just 105,500.
The official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) October national unemployment figure remained the same as in September at 6.2%. However, in the ACT, which usually has the lowest unemployment rate in the country at less than 4%, this has increased over the last four months to 5.4%. This is a direct result of the federal government’s sacking of public sector workers.
The national unemployment figure of 6.2% would have been 7.2% if it wasn’t for a fall in the participation rate among males. Since January last year, 100,000 adult males have stopped looking for jobs, which do not exist.
The adult working-age population has increased by almost 2% in the past year, but the number of Australians with jobs increased by less than 1%. The number of unemployed looking for part-time work has increased by 30% over the past 12 months.
When Abbott was elected to government, the employment to population ratio was 61.1%. In October it was 60.5%.
Female workforce participation rates have remained steady at about 59% for the past year. A recently released study by Curtin University economists goes some way to explaining why.
The economists measured the average net worth of single adults by household type and age group from 2002 to 2010. In 2002, the gap between single females and single males aged under 35 was a very worrying 16%.
In 2010, it was a catastrophic 89.3%, with females’ net worth $63,500 and males’ $120,200. For those in the 35-55 age group, the gap was 4.1% in 2002. In 2010 it increased almost seven-fold to 27.5%.
Associate Professor Siobhan Austen, one of the co-authors of the study, was reported in Fairfax media saying: “All our theories, and commonsense, say that education is an important route to higher earnings and higher economic opportunity.
"And yet, despite young women now outnumbering young men in our universities quite substantially, we are not seeing a dramatic shift in the gender pay gap or the gender wealth gap. Indeed they have trended upwards in the last decade.”
No doubt Senator Michaelia Cash, the minister assisting the prime minister for women, and Curtin University graduate, will bring this to Abbott’s attention so he can make another hollow promise to rectify it.