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Unemployment hot spots and concerns of slow jobs recovery

Yesterday’s September ABS employment data confirms the labour market is not bouncing back as strongly as any of us would like.  The 36,000 jobs losses for Victoria meant the national figures went down by 30,000.  But that means only 6,000 net new jobs across the rest of Australia in the month. And under-employment increased yet again.  We know there were at least 1.566 million people claiming unemployment payments on 25/9/20, so these figures confirm there are not nearly enough new jobs to help them return to work.

Jo Masters Economist at EY said: “Momentum stalled in the labour market as employment fell by 29,500 in Sept after 3 consecutive rises. The fall was driven by a 36,000 decline in VIC, but momentum also faded in NSW & WA. The loss of job momentum raises concern that the cyclical downturn is still to come.”

Former RBA and now indeed economist Callam Pickering:

  • While Australia’s unemployment rate is officially 6.9%, the actual rate is likely much higher. Controlling for changes in the participation rate, the unemployment rate would actually be 8.7% in September (up from 8.4% in August but well down on the 12.3% peak in May).
  • While the initial impact of COVID-19 primarily hit part-time workers, the more lasting impact has been on full-time workers. Full-time hours worked is down 5.7% since March, compared with a 2.2% decline for part-time.  96% of employment growth since May has been part-time.
  • The unemployment rate for young people aged 15-24 was 14.5% in September. But that only tells half the story. 19.2% of young people report being underemployed – that is they have jobs but would prefer more hours.

See also story featuring new analysis from The Art of More Vulnerable Australia model and commentary from Anti-Poverty Week on ABC 7.30 Report Wednesday 15 October.