Unemployment soars to 19-year high of 7.1 per cent because of coronavirus downturn

Unemployment soars to 7.1 per cent as coronavirus downturn forces 227,7000 Australians out of work between April and May

  • Australia’s official unemployment rate has surged to 7.1 per cent in May 2020
  • It was the highest level since October 2001 when it stood at 7.2 per cent
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed 227,700 people lost employment
  • Number officially unemployed 927,600 may be the highest since December 1993 
  • Here’s how to help people relying on Covid-19

Australia’s unemployment rate has surged to 7.1 per cent in May – the highest in 19 years.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed 227,700 people lost their job or threw in the towel looking for one last month, following the 2nd full month of coronavirus shutdowns. 

May’s unemployment figure was the highest jobless rate since October 2001, when 7.2 per cent of the labour force was without work.

The official number unemployed, where recipients are either receiving the dole or searching for work, rose in May by 85,700 to 927,600 – a 30.9 per cent increase weighed against a year earlier in the day.

The ranks of the unemployed is now at the highest level since December 1993, throughout an era once the jobless rate stayed in double-digit figures for almost 3 years after the last recession.

Australia’s official unemployment rate has surged to 7.1 per cent in May 2020 – the greatest in 19 years. New Australian Bureau of Statistics data showed 227,700 people lost their job or threw in the towel looking for one last month following the coronavirus shutdowns. Pictured is a Centrelink queue in Melbourne 

Australia’s jobless rate for April was revised up from 6.2 per cent to 6.4 per cent, itself the greatest level since October 2014.

In March, the unemployment rate was 5.2 per cent, with those numbers calculated early in the month ahead of the COVID-19 closures of non-essential service companies like pubs, gyms and cinemas.

Both the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury are expecting the state unemployment rate to hit ten per cent by June because the health pandemic caused a straight faster downturn than the 1930s Great Depression.

This would see Australian sink into recession in the June quarter of 2020 for the very first time in 29 years.

The official number unemployed, where recipients are either receiving the dole or looking for work, rose in May by 85,700 to 927,600 - a 30.9 per cent increase compared with a year earlier. The ranks of the unemployed is now at the highest level since December 1993, during an era when the jobless rate stayed in double-digit figures for almost three years after the last recession. Pictured are shops at Bondi Beach in Sydney's east - an area where job losses have been more severe

The official number unemployed, where recipients are either receiving the dole or searching for work, rose in May by 85,700 to 927,600 – a 30.9 per cent increase weighed against a year earlier in the day. The ranks of the unemployed is currently at the greatest level since December 1993, during a time when the jobless rate stayed in double-digit figures for nearly three years following the last recession. Pictured are shops at Bondi Beach in Sydney’s east – an area where job losses have been more severe

The unemployed have been receiving $1,115 a week or two since April 27, with a $550 coronavirus supplement effectively doubling the usual $565.70 JobSeeker rate.

Where COVID-19 has caused most job losses

1. Inner Melbourne: down 10.6 per cent

2. Inner Sydney: down 10.57 per cent

3. Tasmania south east: down 10.47 per cent

4. Melbourne north west: down 9.43 per cent

5. Warrnambool and Victoria the west: down 9.4 per cent

6. Hobart: down 9.33 per cent

7. Launceston and Tasmanian north-east: down 9.33 per cent

8. Victoria north west: down 9.07 per cent

9. Melbourne north east: down 8.98 per cent

10. Gold Coast: down 8.82 per cent

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics payroll data showing job losses between March 14 and May 30, 2020

The government is considering a permanent increase to JobSeeker, beyond the old Newstart rate, when the temporary boost to the dole ends in September. 

Although Daily Mail Australia understands the welfare payment will soon be considerably significantly less than the $1,115 they’re receiving now.

The change is expected to be contained in a July 23 economic statement, with Treasurer Josh Frydenberg again and again stressing the doubling of JobSeeker was temporary.

More than 1.64million Australians are now actually receiving JobSeeker, which also covers vomiting and bereavement recipients.

That number is expected to soar when JobKeeper wage subsidies, of $1,500 a week or two, end in September.

Inner-city Sydney and Melbourne have been the worst-hit by COVID-19, with new Australian Bureau of Statistics maps showing one in ten or 10.6 per cent of jobs in these areas were lost in just 11 weeks.

On the Gold Coast, 8.8 per cent of jobs were lost between March 14, ahead of the border closure and coronavirus shutdowns, and May 30, the ABS payrolls data showed. 

Tasmania’s south east lost 10.5 per cent of jobs as Hobart and Launceston both saw a 9.3 per cent employment plunge.

Melbourne’s north west and Victoria’s the west, taking in Warrnambool on the Great Ocean Road, both suffered a 9.4 per cent decline while inner-city Perth suffered an 8.5 per cent drop during that period.

Job losses in these areas were well above the national average of 7.5 per cent.

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