Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

September unemployment benefit numbers fall to 14 year low

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits in September has fallen to its lowest level in 14 years.

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said there were 21,197 fewer people receiving unemployment benefits (New Start Allowance and Youth Allowance (other)) in September – a fall of 3.5% from September 2003.

There are now 607,783 people on unemployment benefits, the lowest September figure since September 1990.

The Department of Family and Community Services’ latest labour market and related payments figures were released today.

Senator Patterson said there were 37,993 fewer jobseekers in September, a decrease of 8.7% from September 2003.

‘The number of long-term jobseekers in September has declined by 24,833 people from 256,054 in September 2003 to 231,221,’ said Senator Patterson.

‘The number of short term jobseekers decreased by 7.4% or 13,160 people from 178,316 in September 2003 to 165,156.

‘Strong good economic management by the Howard Government over the past eight years has helped to create over 1.3 million new jobs. We will continue to tackle unemployment by delivering successful programs such as the Personal Support Program, Personal Advisers and Working Credits,’ said Senator Patterson.

Notes to Editors:

1. The figures contained in this publication are different from the unemployment figures produced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), as the ABS and FaCS use different methodologies to count unemployed customers.

2. Long-term clients have been on income support for 12 months or more and can be off payment for up to 25 weeks before being reclassified as short-term. This differs significantly from the ABS definition of long-term unemployment.