Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is confident of a strong recovery in the Australian labour market as COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns end.
Labor hopes the treasurer is right this time having made similar comments a year ago, before 2021 ended up almost as bad at 2020.
Official jobs data for October released last week showed the unemployment rate unexpectedly spiking to 5.2 per cent from 4.6 per cent, although the figures did not capture the easing of restrictions in NSW, Victoria and the ACT.
However Mr Frydenberg says Australian Taxation Office data shows payroll jobs rose 13 per cent in the fortnight to October 24.
New hires were up 25 per cent in NSW, 15 per cent in Victoria and 22 per cent in the ACT.
"We are seeing thousands of new hires across the economy but also, importantly, we are going to see tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people come off zero hours and back into work," the treasurer told Sky News' Sunday Agenda program.
"We are very confident of a strong rebound in the labour market, that we can see unemployment get back to the fours, bearing in mind it hadn't been under five per cent for a decade."
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers hopes his Liberal counterpart is correct.
"Josh Frydenberg said last Christmas that it was the beginnings of a strong recovery," Dr Chalmers told reporters.
"Instead his complacency on quarantine, and vaccines, and economic support, meant that the economy in 2021 was almost as bad as the economy in 2020."
Treasury analysis using banking data also shows consumer spending is now greater than it was pre-pandemic with NSW and Victoria spending an extra $150 million a day after the lockdowns eased.
Mr Frydenberg expects the economy is now facing a private sector-led recovery.
"We as the government are handing over the baton to the private sector to carry Australia's economy forward as those lockdowns have ended," he said.
"Our payments were emergency payments and once we got to that 80 per cent vaccination rate we could bring those emergency payments to an end."
But Dr Chalmers said there can't be any complacency in this recovery.
"The government might say that everything is fine in the economy and everything is starting to gallop, but almost 200,000 people lost their job in the last two months," he said.
"We want this to be a recovery where ordinary working people aren't left behind and working families can get ahead, and this government doesn't understand that."
Australian Associated Press
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