JIM CHALMERS MP
MEMBER FOR RANKIN
GDP FIGURES COLD COMFORT TO 2 MILLION WITHOUT WORK OR ENOUGH WORK
Today’s National Accounts confirm that while the recovery continues as restrictions ease, it remains patchy, and wages have actually gone backwards.
The quarterly rebound in GDP is welcome but unsurprising given the easing of restrictions in Victoria, with the state responsible for around half of the growth in domestic demand.
For many Australians, what looks like a recovery on paper still feels like a recession.
What really matters is not GDP numbers on a page, but how Australians are actually faring, and whether they can provide for their loved ones.
Right now, Australia has a higher unemployment rate than the US, over 2 million people are looking for work or more work and Morrison’s cuts to JobKeeper at the end of the month are putting thousands of jobs and businesses at risk in every corner of the country.
Today’s data shows there is still a long way to go to undo the damage of the recession and longstanding economic weakness under this Liberal and National Government.
- GDP still below pre-crisis levels: The economy is smaller than it was in mid-2019 with GDP still 1.1 per cent below what it was before the crisis.
- Stagnant wages declined: Average compensation per employee fell by 0.5 per cent in the quarter, to be up only 2.6 per cent over the year.
- Recovery patchy by industry: Production from key industries impacted by restrictions are still well below pre-crisis levels, including hospitality, the arts and transport.
- Recovery uneven by region: State final demand in Victoria grew by 6.8 per cent in the quarter, more than double growth in domestic final demand, far outstripping every other state and territory reflecting the re-opening of its economy.
- Business investment still in doldrums: While business investment lifted in the quarter, it is down 5 per cent over the year remains down by 26 per cent under the Liberals.
- Household consumption below pre-crisis levels: While consumption rebounded in the quarter, it is 2.7 per cent below what it was before the crisis.
- GDP per person below pre-crisis levels: Despite increasing in the quarter it remains down 1.8 per cent over the year.
Morrison and Frydenberg’s smugness and self-congratulation won’t do anything to help the millions of Australians still struggling with unemployment, underemployment and insecure work.
It certainly won’t help the many workers and small businesses that will have their economic lifeline ripped away when Morrison and Frydenberg cut JobKeeper without any plan for jobs in its place.
Australians deserve credit for suppressing the virus and working together to keep our economy moving, and a government that won’t leave them behind in the recovery.
Instead of a plan to create secure, well-paid jobs, the Morrison Government’s cuts to pay, cuts to superannuation, attacks on job security, and a budget riddled with rorts, will only make things worse.
Australians need and deserve a government that is on their side, and only Labor is fighting to build an economy that is stronger and fairer after the pandemic than it was beforehand.
WEDNESDAY, 3 MARCH 2021