Pollies should be careful with jobs promises

Former Premier Peter Beattie was fortunate that the mining boom came along and helped bring Queensland’s unemployment rate below the 5% he promised, but his successor Anna Bligh wasn’t so fortunate – the Queensland economy still hasn’t generated the 100,000 jobs the former Premier promised at the 2009 election.

Forecasting future employment growth is challenging because much depends on the state of the economy, the migration rate, and the aggregate rate of workforce participation, which might be affected by a variety of factors including changes to the population age structure and childcare costs.

Hence I was surprised the Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has made a promise to deliver 1 million new jobs in his first five years. As the Unconventional Economist at Macro Business points out, based on historical experience this would actually be a promise of “low jobs growth”, but I’m less confident that this promise is easy to deliver. The Australian economy will see a lot of baby boomers retiring in the next few years and this will act as a drag on employment growth.

The current Queensland Government also faces a challenging labour market target. I’ve previously posted on how the current Queensland Government’s 4% unemployment rate target is technically achievable, but may not be sustainable:

The 4% unemployment rate target – achievability vs sustainability

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