Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles insists comparing his state’s unemployment rate with Victoria’s is misleading.
Queensland’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.7 per cent in September, from 7.5 per cent in August.
That’s higher than 6.9 per cent nationally and 6.7 per cent in Victoria, which has been in and out of COVID-19 lockdowns.
An extra 32,200 Queenslanders found work in the month, but 11,100 lost their jobs, taking the total number of unemployed to 209,000.
Dr Miles said JobKeeper is distorting the data to make Victoria appear to have a higher proportion of people in work than Queensland, NSW and South Australia.
ABS data shows almost 113,000 people were working zero hours a week in Victoria in September.
“What you can’t do is compare unemployment rates between states that are still locked down and largely reliant on JobKeeper and states that have successfully controlled the virus and have people back to work,” Dr Miles said.
He also said Queensland’s unemployment rate was being pushed up by a rising participation rate in September, and that more people are looking for work because the state’s economy is opening and business is picking up.
“You don’t go looking for work when your state is still in lockdown,” he said.
“You go looking for work when your economy is open and businesses are working again and that is exactly what you saw in our figures yesterday.”
Liberal National Party leader Deb Frecklington hit out at Labor after mining company New Hope announced 90 redundancies.
New Hope said the corporate positions will go amid uncertainty over the approval stage three of its New Acland coal mine in the Darling Downs.
“If Annastacia Palaszczuk supported resource jobs she would approve this project,” Ms Frecklington said.
“But she won’t, because Labor doesn’t support the resources industry.
The LNP leader came under criticism over jobs herself after a union-commissioned report into the impact of her aim for a surplus by 2024.
The Per Capita report found that up to 42,600 public sector jobs would have to be lost to trim the $8.5 billion budget deficit.
“Attempting to balance the budget will only deepen the recession, forcing tens of thousands of workers into the dole queue and reducing economic activity significantly,” the report said.
“Queensland, and Australia more broadly, simply cannot afford the heavy costs of a balanced budget.”
Together union secretary Alex Scott is appealing to the LNP to forego the idea of a surplus.
“Unemployment is more than just a statistic, it’s a human tragedy,” Mr Scott said on Friday.
“Every public sector job cut stretches out the time we will spend in recession and makes life harder for families who are already struggling with the devastation caused by the global COVID recession.”
Queenslanders go to the polls on October 31.