The Abbott Government’s mid-year economic and fiscal outlook has been released and it’s not the news Treasurer Joe Hockey was looking for.
The deficit forecast for the federal budget has blown out to $40.4 billion.
That compares with the 29.8-billion dollar deficit predicted in May by Mr Hockey.
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It also forecasts unemployment to remain at 6.5 per cent – the highest level since June 2002 – through 2015/16.
It’s then expected to decline to six per cent and 5.75 per cent in the following two financial years.
The May budget had forecast unemployment to peak at 6.25 per cent in 2014/15.
But official figures last week showed the jobless rate had already surpassed that number, reaching a 12-year high of 6.3 per cent in November.