Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Jobseekers on benefits falls to 12-year low

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits has fallen to the lowest level in 12 years, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.According to the latest labour market and related payments figures released by the Department of Family and Community Services, there were 600,983 unemployed clients in October – a fall of 5.4% or 34,476 from October 2002.

Senator Patterson said this was the lowest number of jobseekers receiving Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance since March 1991.

The number of long-term unemployment clients is 360,699 – a fall of 4.5% or 17,157 from October 2002.

Senator Patterson said the Government’s strong economic record had delivered the lowest unemployment rate in 22 years.

“The low unemployment has been achieved through the Howard Government’s responsible economic policies to both stimulate the economy and deliver lower interest rates,” she said.

“The reduction in the unemployment rate has resulted in this substantial decrease in people receiving unemployment benefits.

“We have created nearly 1.3 million new jobs since coming to office.

“This is a long way from the days of Labor when unemployment reached crisis levels. In the recession we had to have there were nearly one million Australians unemployed.”

  October 2002 October 2003 Annual change
Total unemployed clients 635,459 600,983 – 5.4%
LT unemployed clients 377,856 360,699 – 4.5%
ST unemployed clients 257,603 240,284 – 6.7%
Total jobseekers 447,704 427,190 – 4.6%
LT jobseekers 261,924 252,009 – 3.8%
ST jobseekers 185,780 175,181 – 5.7%