Welcome Drop in Unemployment Rate, but Long-Term Jobseekers Still Struggling

ACOSS welcomes the drop in the unemployment rate of 0.2 pts to 5.2% in May and calls for more assistance for long-term jobseekers to reconnect to the workforce.

“The drop in unemployment and the addition of 26,900 jobs to the economy are really positive signs for Australians looking for work,” said Clare Martin, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“Despite these strong signs of recovery, long-term joblessness continues to rise. In April, there were around 360,000 Australians on Newstart or Youth Allowance for over 12 months, which is a 27% increase on last year. Long-term unemployment is a delayed indicator of an economic downturn and we expect this figure will increase further over the next year.

“People who have been out of the workforce for many months, or years, often require intensive assistance to move back to work.

“ACOSS is calling for the introduction of a paid work experience program for long-term unemployed people to transition participants into mainstream employment. Based on experience in a real job, the program would improve the confidence of jobseekers, as well as build job skills and networks that will assist with job search.

“Australians looking for work also need an adequate income while they look for work. A single unemployed person receives just $231 per week which barely covers the costs of basic essentials. ACOSS is advocating for a lift in this payment of $45 per week.”

Media Contact: Clare Cameron, ACOSS – 0419 626 155