POST 61: THE WESTERN AUSTRALIA PARTY ASSESSMENT OF OCTOBER UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES

Introduction

The latest ABS unemployment figures for October 2020, demonstrates how important it is to keep overseas immigration in check at a time of rising unemployment. Australia’s official headline unemployment rose to 7.0%.[1] For Western Australia the headline figure is 6.6%.

The effective unemployment rate offers a more realistic picture of unemployment and is central to guiding the Federal government’s economic response.  Included in this count are 133,000 people that worked zero hours in October. In total, over 1 million Australian’s are out of the Labour force, an effective rate of 8%.[2]

A key point of difference to the McGowan government is that the Western Australia Party assesses the effective unemployment rate to gain a better insight into labour market failures. In Western Australia nearly 8,000 locals worked zero hours in October for economic reasons. Adding up to over 103,00 West Australian’s not in the Labour force with an effective unemployment rate of 7.1 % (see Table 1 below).[3]

Table 1: Western Australia unemployment figures for October 2020.

MonthLabour force total (million)Official total unemployed (000’s)Official unemployment rate
Oct-20201462.496.26.6%
MonthEconomic reasons zero hours, (000’s)Official unemployed plus zero hours (000’s)Unemployment plus zero hours (effective rate)
Oct-2020 7.700 103.917.1%

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2020.[4]

An integrated approach to unemployment

The Western Australia Party offers an integrated approach to addressing unemployment. This involves restricting immigration until unemployment gets much lower. We recognise that lower skilled immigrants increase competition and substitute local workers. In turn this generates downward pressure on wages.[5]

The WAP employs an evidence-based approach to assessing the migration intake and impacts on the domestic workforce. We support a limited, but highly skilled migrant occupation list.

The Labor government failed to reduce immigration when the economy was sluggish.   

The McGowan government chose to ignore the policy recommendations of the Australian Productivity Commission (APC). In a major report, the APC indicated that immigration might lead to higher unemployment for specific groups – especially those who worked in sectors of the economy with high concentrations of immigrant workers.[6]  

The APC report found that high immigration and a sluggish economy, gives employers a wider scope of potential workers, and skills, and this drives down wages and working conditions.[7]

Unemployment was running at over 6% prior to the Wuhan virus arrival, yet the McGowan government significantly increased State migration occupation lists. As a result, in 2019 West Australia’s net overseas migration reached 22,000, the highest since the resource boom.[8]

References


[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, October 2020’, 2020 <https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia/latest-release> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Insights into Hours Worked, October 2020’, 2020 <https://www.abs.gov.au/articles/insights-hours-worked-october-2020> [accessed 19 November 2020].

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Insights into Hours Worked, October 2020’.

[4] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘Labour Force, Australia, October 2020’.

[5] Australian Government Productivity Commission, ‘Migrant Intake into Australia – Productivity Commission Inquiry Report’, 2016 <https://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/completed/migrant-intake/report> [accessed 23 February 2019].

[6] Australian Government Productivity Commission.

[7] Australian Government Productivity Commission.

[8] Australian Bureau of Statistics, ‘National, State and Territory Population, March 2020’, 2020 <https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/national-state-and-territory-population/latest-release> [accessed 29 September 2020].

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