More than 100,000 full-time jobs were lost in December and hours worked plunged, making it the worst possible time for the Government to introduce new workplace relations laws that make it harder for business to grow and employ Australians, according to the Business Council.
BCA Chief Executive Bran Black said the stable employment rate of 3.9 per cent masked the significant loss of full-time jobs and the true picture of the economy.
“Businesses employ Australians and are getting squeezed from every direction and things are about to get worse as the economy slows and the Government presses ahead with anti-business and anti-growth workplace relations laws,” Mr Black said.
“Australia is becoming less competitive and the consequences of that are already being seen in the latest insolvency figures and with businesses opting to not invest in Australia – and that costs real jobs.
“Unless businesses are successful our high standard of living will be put at risk.
“You can’t make anti-business policy and expect there to be no impact on Australian jobs.”
BCA Chief Economist Stephen Walters said it wouldn’t be long before the unemployment rate had a four in front of it.
“Everything points to weaker conditions in the labour market – a plunge in full-time employment, falling hours worked, lower participation, and fewer job ads - so now is not the time to impose new workplace rules and regulations that will make things worse,” Mr Walters said.
“Given recent trends, it is likely the unemployment rate will have a four in front of it in coming months.”
Employment fell by 65,100 in December, a weaker performance than the market was expecting:
- Full-time employment fell by 106,600. Part-time employment rose by 41,400.
- Employment rose 2.8 per cent at an annual rate in December compared to 3.2 per cent in November.
- Full-time employment rose 1.1 per cent over the year to December compared to 2.7 per cent over the year to November.
- Part-time employment growth was 6.7 per cent at an annual rate compared to 4.4 per cent in November.
- There is marked divergence between the annual growth in full-time and part-time employment, reversing the trend seen in the recovery from the pandemic, when employment growth was largely driven by full-time jobs.