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Australia Employment

Australia’s unemployment rate drops to 4.6 per cent

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The country’s unemployment rate has unexpectedly dropped despite economists generally expecting an increase due to the worsening conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic in the last few months. 

Australia’s unemployment rate was 4.9 per cent in June, which then fell to 4.6 per cent in July. Although economists are surprised by the sudden 0.3 per cent drop, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said the result was distorted by large changes in the NSW and Victorian labour markets. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics’s Head of Labour Statistics Bjorn Jarvis said there was a big employment fall of 36,000 in NSW employment and a seven per cent drop in the state’s total work hours. This big employment fall and reduction in work hours must have offset the increases in employment and hours in Victoria.

The July unemployment data coincided with the early weeks of the Greater Sydney lockdown, which increased restrictions in other parts of NSW. The reported data also coincided with a series of changes in restrictions in other parts of the country. 

Overall, the Australian Bureau of Statistics stated that the number of Australians that were employed in July rose to 2200 across the country. Full-time employment decreased by 4200, while the number of people in part-time jobs rose by 6400. 

Economists had initially expected the unemployment rate to rise to five per cent in July because of the economic impact caused by the early stages of the third wave of the pandemic. However, it is expected that the economy will see a sharp contraction in the September quarter, which could extend into the early months of the December quarter.  

“Obviously, we desperately hope that we can avoid the second recession in two years,” shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers told Sky News on Thursday. 

“I think the fact that the Treasurer himself cannot rule out another recession under this Government is another indication of their failures on vaccines, and purpose-built quarantine, and JobKeeper as well.” 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters last Wednesday that he was confident that Australia’s economy will rebound once everyone has been vaccinated and the country can be opened up again, thus avoiding another recession. 

WITH NEWS FROM AAP

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