By Michael Griffin ©
Despite the 403,000 ‘new jobs’ that Turnbull and his employment minister, Michaelia Cash, claim to have created over 2017, over that same period the unemployment rate fell by only 0.1% from 5.6% to 5.5%. On the face of it, that seems an odd phenomenon.
The 403,000 jobs Turnbull claims to have created during the course of 2017 is approximately 50% of the number of unemployed. On that basis, any ordinary person would be forgiven for expecting that such a huge number of ‘new jobs’ would put a very significant dent in the unemployment numbers.
No doubt, that same ordinary person would be equally surprised to find that it hadn’t. It stands to reason that if all the jobs Turnbull claims to have created had gone to an unemployed Australian, then the unemployment rate, and the public costs of Newstart, and of the homelessness that results from unemployment, would have been at least halved.
So what is really happening here?
As indicated by an article by Tim Colebatch in Inside Story on 20 April 2018, the reason the jobs growth touted by Turnbull had no impact on the jobless figures for the corresponding period is because nearly 73% of the so-called ‘new jobs’ Turnbull claims to have created went to new migrants.
As Colebatch’s linked article indicates, hidden within a recently released joint report of the Treasury and Department of Home Affairs Offices entitled ‘Shaping the Nation (2018)’, which the title itself implies the deliberate adoption of a strategic policy of social engineering akin to that suggested by the Club of Rome and by neo-liberal globalists, that would alarm many conspiracy theorists and nationalists, and which report seems to have been conveniently ‘missed’ by the great Australian professional media, is this:
“Recent migrants accounted for two thirds (64.5%) of the approximately 850,000 net jobs created in the past five years. For full-time employment, the impact is even more pronounced, with recent migrants accounting for 72.4 percent of new jobs created.”
Hence, not much more than one-quarter of all the jobs Turnbull claims to have created have gone to Australian citizens, in particular, to the unemployed. The remaining nearly three-quarters of jobs created have gone to migrants on a working visa of some sort.
The fact that the jobs created have largely been taken by migrants partly explains why the official unemployment rate dropped by only 0.1% during the same period that Turnbull and Cash claim the increased job numbers occurred.
This discrepancy occurs because the migrants taking the jobs would not have been receiving Newstart before they took up their new job in Australia and, hence, would not have been included in the unemployment figures before or after they started working.
Put simply, they would not have been registered as unemployed before they got their new Australian job because they would not have been in Australia when the jobless figures were tallied. Consequently, when they arrive in Australia and start their new job, their employment is not deducted against the jobless figure.
Amongst other things, these facts indicate that Turnbull and his LNP government cannot legitimately use jobs growth numbers to justify their continuing persecution of the unemployed. Indeed, the facts probably support the opposite. That is, that the LNP’s ongoing persecution of the unemployed is unreasonable because it is government policy, in permitting so many work visa migrants into Australia, that has caused, and is still causing, the plight of the unemployed in Australia.
In other words, the government is to blame for unemployment NOT the individual unemployed person who is, in reality, a victim of the LNP’s anti-Australian, pro-immigrant ‘(re)shaping the nation’ policy.
But there is another factor relevant to why the official long-term unemployment rate was barely impacted upon by the ‘new jobs’ Turnbull and Cash claim to have created and which factor is not so evident from the Shaping the Nation report and that Tim Colebatch does not mention.
Reviewing the Australian Bureau of Statistics (‘ABS’) Labour statistics pages, upon which Turnbull and Cash rely to make their jobs growth claims, then we learn that the ABS does not measure ‘full-time jobs’ at all but measures only ‘working hours’.
The ABS defines a ‘job’, for the purpose of job creation statistics, to include any increased hour of work for those already employed. Hence, when a worker undertakes additional hours in the form of overtime, for instance, or when a casual or part-time employee works a few extra hours, then each of the additional hours worked is included as a new and separately created ‘job’ in the ABS statistics.
Hence, six additional hours of work by the same person undertaking the tasks they usually do in their usual job is counted as six brand new jobs. This is the case even if the same person is working for the same employer, in the same workplace and is undertaking the same tasks they do in their ordinary or usual work hours. The only difference is that the same person is working a few additional hours more than they did at the time the ABS measured working hours in the previous year.
The ABS relies upon international standards to measure ‘hours of work’ as separate jobs in the way it does. ‘Resolution I’ of The 18th International Conference of Labour Statisticians concerns the measurement of working time. It states the following:
- “Working time can be measured for short measurement units, such as minutes or hours, or for long units such as half-days, days, weeks or months. The measurement unit of “hours” is used for ease of reference.”
The ABS has chosen the ‘ease of reference approach’ by using an hour as the unit of measurement for the creation of a ‘job’. To that effect, the ABS reports that those interviewed in their job creation survey for 2017 responded that they were working on average 0.6% more hours than those interviewed for the corresponding survey at the same time in 2016.
The ABS then extrapolates the percentage of additional hours worked by those in its limited survey sample to the Australian workforce as a whole and it then calculates the total ‘new jobs’ created from the figure arrived at after the process of extrapolation to the entire workforce.
Hence, the ABS assumes that, like those employees in their limited survey, every worker in Australia has also worked 0.6% more hours than they did in the previous year and, in this instance, it arrives at the conclusion that 403,000 additional working hours, and, hence, 403,000 ‘new jobs’, have been created across the entire economy during that period.
In sum, what Turnbull’s 403,000 ‘new jobs’ really means is that 403,000 more hours have been worked than the last time a measurement was taken by the ABS. However, because each additional single hour worked is regarded as a ‘new job’, Turnbull and Cash are able to claim that the 403,000 additional hours worked is also 403,000 ‘new jobs’.
What has been created then by Turnbull is actually 403,000 additional hours of work, not 403,000 new full-time jobs as Turnbull would like us all to believe. In fact, if the additional 403,000 working hours is divided by the average weekly full-time hours of 37.5 hrs, then it calculates that for the period for which he and Cash boast of creating 403,000 ‘new jobs’, they have actually only created the equivalent of approximately 10,747 full-time jobs.
Applying the percentages disclosed in Shaping the Nation, then we can see that, of those 10,747 equivalent full-time jobs, about 73 %, or 8,060 equivalent full-time jobs, were worked by migrants on visa and the bulk of the rest of the equivalent full-time jobs by existing employees spread across the nation. All the additional 0.6% hours worked by existing employees across the nation provide the other working hours, which, when tallied together and then divided by 37.5 hrs, make up the remaining equivalent full-time jobs not worked by migrants on a visa.
Significantly, neither of these groups – migrants or existing employees – were included in the previous jobless figures because they were either employed or not in Australia at all when the jobless figures were measured in 2016 or 2017. Because they were not previously included in the jobless figures, the additional working hours undertaken by migrants or by existing employees had no effective impact on the unemployment rate during the corresponding period and, consequently, that rate fell by only 0.1 %.
This also means that few unemployed people benefited from migrants getting an Australian job, or from existing workers undertaking additional work, during the period that the measurements were taken.
These figures also indicate that the cost of unemployment is not ameliorated when migrants on visa take an Australian job. If the 403,000 ‘jobs’ Turnbull claims to have been created had gone to an unemployed Australian, then approximately half the annual amount spent on Newstart, or about $5 billion per annum, would have been saved to be freed up for spending in other areas or for debt reduction.
Seems that Turnbull is committed to the use of rubbery figures and statistics to create a false picture of reality. By doing so he can conveniently use these rubbery statistics for the generation of his fake news on job creation, to justify his ongoing victimisation of the unemployed, for his ongoing deception of the Australian people about his government’s economic credentials and as a dubious reason for his implementation of discredited trickle-down neo-liberal economic policies and for his advocacy for the maintenance of a failing capitalist market system – a system that can provide neither sufficient jobs nor adequate housing for the citizens of the nation in which it operates.