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Calls for Budget job priority as unemployment rises


Unions are calling for the Abbott Government to make employment the focus of next week’s Federal Budget, as new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics reveal an increase in unemployment.

Australia’s unemployment rate jumped 0.1 percentage points to 6.2 per cent during the month of April. ABS figures reveal a decrease in the number of full-time employed males (down by 47,900) and part-time employed females (down by 10,700).

The negative results were partially offset by a rise in the number of part-time employed males (up by 29,700) and full-time employed females (up by 26,000).

The 6.2 per cent unemployment level announced today marks the eleventh consecutive month the rate has come in at 6 per cent or above, a trend the Australian Council of Trade Unions says highlights the risk of long-term structural unemployment.

ACTU President Ged Kearney says the Government should be holding the growth of the country’s economy and employment as key priorities of the Budget.

“The Abbott Government needs to invest in infrastructure, skills and training, and the public sector to create new jobs and boost the economy,” Mr Kearney said.

“You can’t cut your way to economic growth and the unemployment figures clearly show that.

“The government’s failure to deliver a plan for jobs has been compounded by its obsession with cutting the budget deficit and taking an axe to the public sector – the type of austerity policies that have mired parts of Europe in deep recession for many years.”