The ACTU warned that thousands more job losses were expected in addition to the 56,800 full time positions lost last month reported in today’s official labour force statistics.

“Today’s figures are starting to show the impact of recent corporate collapses and staff cuts, but they do not count tens of thousands of jobs which are at risk, including 17,000 at Ansett,” said ACTU President Sharan Burrow.

“John Howard’s legacy for Australian workers is the highest unemployment rate for years, with 106,700 full time jobs wiped out since the GST was introduced last July.

“Thousands more job losses are expected across industry sectors including hospitality, tourism, manufacturing, finance and communications. For example, some 10,000 jobs are expected to go in the banking sector, more than 3,000 are at risk at Sydney Airport and related businesses, and 1,800 are at risk at Pasminco.

“We are seeing the impact of John Howard’s failure to develop a plan for jobs growth, particularly in manufacturing. Mr Howard came to office promising 220,000 additional manufacturing jobs, but we’ve seen a net loss of 85,000 jobs in manufacturing while investment in research and development has collapsed.”

Ms Burrow said Labor’s industry policy announced today would help jobs growth through an extra $300 million in R&D, pro-Australian Government purchasing and defence procurement, targeted investment strategies and consultation and review through a re-established Australian Manufacturing Council.

Today’s figures were particularly bad news for women and young people. More than 44,200 – or 78% – of the 56,800 full time jobs lost last month were women’s jobs. The number of unemployed young people has jumped 40.8% in the last year, pushing our youth jobless rate to 26%.

“The only jobs growth continues to be in part time work, which includes as little as one hour a week under the Bureau of Statistics definition. Many of these jobs are insecure, casual and low paid positions that are no substitute for full time work,” Ms Burrow said.