The Hon.

Ben Morton MP

Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Assistant Minister to the Minister for the Public Service
Assistant Minister for Electoral Matters
Federal Liberal Member for Tangney

Press Conference – 88,700 jobs were added last month

Mar 18, 2021 | Speech

Good afternoon. It is one year today since the Governor-General
authorised the Biosecurity Emergency Declaration in relation to the COVID-19
pandemic. It has been an extraordinary year in Australia’s fightback in dealing
with the COVID-19 pandemic. While it has been an absolutely terrible year, a
year of uncertainty, of hardship, of terrible loss here in Australia, but
frankly all around the world and in so many parts of the world that loss still
runs on, it accelerates, it devastates. But while all of that is true, in
Australia we have seen one of the most remarkable performances of Australians
in our Australian economy that we have seen. In less than 12 months from when
the recession began, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there are now more jobs
in the Australian economy than there were before the pandemic. That is
something that is truly remarkable and is a great credit to every Australian
who hung in there, every Australian business who kept people in jobs, everyone
who played a role in ensuring that we did everything that we possibly could to
see that Australia continues to come through this COVID-19 pandemic and
recession in the best way we possibly can. More jobs now than when the
recession began.

For us as
a Government, together with the Treasurer and our entire team, it’s always been
ultimately about jobs for us when we come and form governments. We want to see
more Australians in work because we know when an Australian has a job, it is
good for their wellbeing. It is good for their hope. They can plan for their
future. They are in control when they are in a job. That is why we want to see
so many Australians in jobs and, indeed before the pandemic, 1.5 million jobs
had been created since we first came to government. And those jobs are now
restored. They are restored. There is still a long way to go. Unemployment has
fallen to 5.8 percent. 876,400 jobs have been recreated in our economy since
the start of that recession. 88,700 in net terms in February have been created,
all of them full-time. 84 per cent of the jobs in this February figures for
women. But we aren’t there yet. There are more hours still needed. There is
still a lot more to do, particularly for young people and even though the youth
unemployment rate has pleasingly fallen, there is still a distance to travel.
The pacing of our supports into the economy are proved again to have been wise.
We brought it in when it was most needed and we didn’t hold back. We kept it in
as the crisis went through its most virulent period. But as we got to the other
side, as it began to emerge as companies were getting back on their feet
towards the end of September, we started to gear down those supports and the
jobs increased. We geared down the supports again at the end of December and
the jobs increased. So as we go into this next phase, we go in with a strong
run up. We go in with a very strong jobs run up into the next phase of
Australia’s comeback and Australia’s recovery. Our plan is working, Treasurer.
We need to stick to the plan. Treasurer.

Thank you, Prime Minister. The
strength and resilience of the Australian economy is on display again today. An
unemployment rate at 5.8 per cent. 88,700 new jobs. A participation rate which
remains around a record high. What is particularly pleasing in these numbers is
that of that 88,700 jobs, all of them were full-time. More than 80 percent went
to women and more than 40 percent went to young people. New South Wales and its
economy has led the charge. 42,000 jobs being created in New South Wales over
the month and their unemployment rate falling to 5.6 percent, the equal lowest
of any state in the country. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. But
months from here will continue to be challenging because we are still in the
midst of a global pandemic and the greatest economic shock since the Great
Depression. There are sectors, there are regions across the country that
continue to do it tough, but these numbers are encouraging and these numbers
give Australians confidence about their economic future.