12 Feb 2015

Australian unemployment rates soar

8:59 pm on 12 February 2015

Unemployment rates in Australia show thousands of jobs lost last month.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Photo: AFP

It has surged to a 12-year high of 6.4 percent.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott caused opposition party outrage by describing rising unemployment within the defence industry as a "holocaust of jobs", the ABC reported.

Mr Abbott was answering a Labour Party question in parliament about the latest unemployment figures, including 7.3 percent in South Australia, where defence industry jobs have traditionally been strong.

He replied that when Labour was in power, there was a "holocaust of jobs" in defence industries.

Mr Abbott subsequently apologised and withdrew the comment. He replaced the word "holocaust" with "decimation".