Australia: Number of unemployed people exceeds 1 million for first time

Marco Green
August 14, 2020

A worker disinfects a bench at Westmead Hospital amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Sydney, Australia, May 12, 2020.

The July jobs increase came as the variety of individuals out of work, readily available to work and actively searching for work topped one million for the very first time ever, the information revealed.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed employment jumped by 114,700 in July, on top of a hefty 210,800 new jobs the previous month.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of Labour Statistics at the ABS, said: "The July figures indicate that employment had recovered by 343,000 people and hours worked had also recovered 5.5 per cent since May".

Overall, the percentage of people employed in Australia increased 0.5 percentage points to 59.8 per cent, up from a low of 58.2 per cent in May.

The government said SA's labour market participation rate remained unchanged, with the improvement in unemployment driven by increased full-time work.

Still, employment remained more than half-a-million people lower than in March, while hours worked were down 5.5% in the same period.

South Australia's jobless numbers have fallen despite a rise in national unemployment.

"The requirement to actively seek work to continue receiving JobSeeker being reintroduced in early August, the unemployment rate is set to track higher", Dr Hunter said.

Queensland's unemployment rate of 8.8 per cent was the highest in the country, followed by Western Australian (8.3 per cent) and South Australia (7.9 per cent).

The ABS said the data captured the effect of stage three restrictions in Victoria but not the harder stage four restrictions now in place as the state fights its deadly second wave of coronavirus.

Only Victoria and the country's most populous state, New South Wales (NSW), reported fresh COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, with a total of 428 infections detected in that past 24 hours.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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