Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has tried to play down the significance of a jump in the jobless rate to 5.2 per cent in October, noting that “when this data was taken … there were 13 million Australians in lockdown”.
“We already know that lockdown cost jobs,” he said in Melbourne.
Frydenberg argued businesses had turned a corner since the Australian Bureau of Statistics collected its data, with consumer confidence and job ads up again.
“Australia and elsewhere, labour force shortages are around. There are jobs. As I said, job ads are up 30 per cent or where they were at the start of the pandemic,” he said, adding that “$340 billion is now accumulated in household and business balance sheets – money that will be spent as those lockdowns have come to an end and the restrictions have eased”.
“There is good reason to be optimistic and confident about the Australian economy,” he said.