How many Australian workers are on the brink of being laid off?
Posted September 18, 2018 06:04:24 It’s been a tough few months for many Australian businesses, but what’s the outlook for the rest of the workforce?
Key points: The Australian Bureau of Statistics says that there are more than 14.6 million workers aged 65 and over in the workforceThe bureau says unemployment fell to a 12-month low of 5.1 per cent in SeptemberThe number of people employed by businesses fell to 2.1 million in September, down from 2.3 million in AugustThe ABS says there were more than 4.7 million Australians working in the country’s small and medium-sized businesses in September.
The number fell slightly from 4.8 million in July, down to 4.6 in August.
“The ABS is forecasting that Australia’s labour market will be significantly less active this year compared to previous years,” the bureau said in a release.
It added that “more than 14,000 Australian workers aged 60 years and over have already been laid off this year”.
The bureau also said that “there have been more than 6 million Australians unemployed since July 2016” as unemployment has fallen to a 13-month high of 5,1 per% in September 2017.
But, the ABS says the trend has continued, with unemployment down to a 6-month average of 4.5 per cent, down by 0.5 percentage points from the previous six months.
The ABS also said there were 1.2 million Australians in the labour force with full-time jobs.
While that number has remained relatively flat, the bureau says there have been “a slight increase in people who are unemployed but not in work”.
The bureau said the average age of the labour market has fallen from 65 to 65-plus for the first time since December 2016.
For the past six months, the age-group of 65 and older has fallen for the second consecutive year.
In August, the oldest age group was 62-years-old, while in August 2017, it was 58-years old.
There were more people in the “older age group” aged 65-74 than any other age group in September.(ABC News: James Pearce)The bureau attributed the recent drop in the unemployment rate to a number of factors, including a drop in overall jobless claims, which fell from 5.4 per cent to 4 per cent.
However, it said it could also be because the number of Australians who have been unemployed in September is lower than in the prior six months due to the drop in unemployment claims in September and the subsequent increase in the number who were actively seeking work.
Despite this, the agency said the unemployment rates for older Australians are likely to remain elevated, with the unemployment ratio for older workers rising to 9.3 per cent compared to 6.3 for younger workers.
A further measure of jobless activity was the number, as defined by the ABS, of Australians receiving assistance payments.
About 70 per cent of the workers aged over 65 receive assistance payments, the report said.
Of those, around half receive assistance from Jobcentres.
Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the government is working hard to help Australians find work.
“Australians are going to find work,” he said.
“We have got the strongest economy in the world.
We have an economy that is growing at an unbelievable pace.”
Mr Abetz also confirmed that there will be no changes to the age restrictions that have existed since the last recession.
“It is a good time for Australia and a good country to have a strong economy,” he told reporters in Canberra.
Mr Turnbull said the prime minister was “looking forward to seeing the figures” on the employment rate and unemployment rate.
Labor has called on the government to take a “more aggressive” approach to tackling unemployment.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said Labor was concerned about the impact of the budget cuts on the economy and on the Australian people.
“This is the second time this year that Labor has had to defend its budget cuts from being passed on to the Australian economy,” Mr Shorten told reporters.
Meanwhile, Business Council of Australia chief executive Mike Fitzpatrick said the Australian manufacturing sector was struggling and the Turnbull government should focus on the manufacturing sector.
He said Labor would push for a return to the gold standard, with a gold standard that allows the price of a barrel of oil to fluctuate freely.