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The increase in July unemployment to 6.4% seasonally adjusted rate (from 5.6% in July last year), and the accompanying small fall in employment since last month, highlight the need for reduced regulation of workplace relations in circumstances where the economy is growing below trend.
Unless regulations are reduced the Abbott government’s budget forecast of a 1.5% increase in employment in 2014-15 will not be achieved and productivity growth will remain sluggish.
The regulatory problem is highlighted by the fact that the growth in the working age population (WAP) is twice as fast as the growth in employment over the past 12 months – employment up by only 0.9% while the WAP increased at double that rate (1.8%).
Before the Fair Work legislation employment was growing faster than the WAP and the participation rate was growing. Over the past three years that rate has fallen from 65.4% to 64.8%.
On top of the twelve months increase of about 15% in numbers unemployed, this indicates continued large increases in those who have given up actively looking for work – the so-called drop outs
Labour Force – Increases Since July 2013 (Original Data)
Employment 1,041 0.9
Working Age Population 3,421 1.8
WAP is civilian population aged 15 years and over
It is now abundantly clear that urgent changes must be made to the existing regulatory legislation, and the administration of it, just to reach the “sensible centre” and remove the bias evident in the existing arrangements.
Sufficient evidence of the monopoly position of unions has already been given to the Heydon Royal Commission to warrant immediate reforms and allow employers much greater freedom to determine employment conditions. It is anomalous, for example, that the MUA has to be taken to the Federal Court in an attempt to reduce its monopoly powers.
The proposals to reform the ABBC and other minor reforms are welcome but have yet to be implemented and will not themselves change the behaviour of militant unions.
Publicity Officer: Des Moore (9867 1235)