Today’s labour force figures highlight the need for Labor to use the May budget to put downward pressure on inflation to take the pressure off struggling families being crippled by out-of-control cost of living pressures.
The Labour force data released today showed the unemployment rate remained steady at 3.5% in February, with 72,200 full time jobs created.
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor welcomed the strong employment figures and said they reflect the underlying strength of the economy following 9 years of Coalition Government.
But Mr Taylor warned that the underlying strength was at risk if the Albanese Government failed to act on inflation in the May Budget.
“We know strong employment means a strong windfall to the budget, but the underlying strength of Australia’s jobs market and economy is at risk from the corrosive impacts of inflation,” Mr Taylor said.
“The IMF has been clear this week that governments can and should do more with their budget to bring down prices by reducing their own spending. It’s time for Labor to start acting responsibly and bring down inflation.
“The government can absolutely take pressure off the Reserve Bank, but we haven’t seen this to date. Labor has broken promises on tax before reining in their own spending.
“Last budget, Labor abandoned the fiscal guardrails, increased spending by over $100 billion and made the structural deficit worse.
“It’s critical this Budget shows fiscal restraint to take pressures off families, real action on productivity and measured relief for families and small businesses.
“Taking more money out of Australians pockets during a cost of living crisis will only make Australians poorer.”
Shadow Minister for Employment Senator Michaelia Cash also welcomed the strong employment data but said it is clear the Albanese Government had no plan to help Australians who are doing it tough.
“Australians are struggling with the cost of living. Grocery prices are going up, electricity prices are going up, mortgage repayments and rents are going up but this Government is doing nothing about it,’’ she said.
“This is the thing with Labor, they make promises but never deliver. They told the Australian people one thing at the election, but the reality is very different when they get into Government,’’ Senator Cash said.
“Labor promised at the last election that Australians would get a wage increase but they have failed to deliver. The average wage increase in December 2022 was 3.3%, well behind the inflation rate in February of 6.8%,’’ she said.
“Real wages are going backwards, and the Albanese has no plan to address this,’’ Senator Cash said.