The Australian unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 1989, and looks likely to fall further, perhaps even reaching the rate of 5 per cent, widely regarded as “full employment”. However, this relatively favourable outcome has been achieved only after a cyclical expansion so long and robust that it has been widely regarded as “miraculous”. It is important, therefore, to consider whether recent reductions in unemployment will be maintained when the current expansion ends, and whether alternative policies could produce stronger and more sustainable growth in employment.
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