Tony Abbott Faces Highest Jobless Rate in Australia in 12 Years; Employment Minister Blames Opposition

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By Reissa Su | August 10, 2014 5:18 PM EST

Australia's unemployment rate has soared to its highest level in 12 years at 6.4 per cent. The country has surpassed the jobless rate in the U.S. for the first time since 2007. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country's high unemployment rate was due to an increase in the number of people looking for work.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Demonstrators prepare signs supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage during May Day demonstrations in New York May 1, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)

The number of Australians who are actively looking for a job has increased by 43,400. There were 300 fewer people who remain employed.

Australia's unemployment rate is the highest since June 2002 when it was then 6.5 per cent. The current jobless rate is now higher than that of the U.S. at 6.2 per cent in July.

Statistics showed Tasmania as the state with the highest unemployment rate in July at 7.6 per cent. Victoria came in second with 7 per cent jobless rate which is higher than its previous 6.6 per cent. Queensland's unemployment rate rose to 6.8 per cent from 6.3 per cent.

Reports said the federal government's budget had earlier predicted unemployment rate to rise 6.25 per cent in the middle of 2015 as the Australian economy moves away from resources projects investment.

Australian Employment Minister Eric Abetz said the increase was "regrettable" as the government attempts to set its plans in motion to create jobs and grow the economy.

Abetz blamed the Labour party for delaying the carbon tax repeal and blocking the mining tax abolition. He said hundreds of thousands of jobs were waiting because of the obstructions created by Labour's Bill Shorten and the Greens for not allowing economic reforms to pass.

In response to the accusations, the opposition's employment spokesperson Brendan O'Connor said the Abbott government had failed to devise a "jobs plan" and only drove international companies like Holden to leave Australian shores.

He reminded Australia that Prime Minister Tony Abbott had promised to create one million jobs in five years but he is now facing the highest jobless rate in the country.

According to the Australian Council of Trade Unions (Actu), the Abbott government should focus on creating more jobs than "punishing Australian with cruel budget measures."

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(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson / )
Demonstrators prepare signs supporting the raising of the federal minimum wage during May Day demonstrations in New York May 1, 2014. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS BUSINESS EMPLOYMENT TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
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