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More huge job losses lift unemployment to 7.1% But maybe we’re over the worst. - featured image

More huge job losses lift unemployment to 7.1% But maybe we’re over the worst.

Employment fell a further 228k in May, far worse than market expectations for a 79k fall.


This means that over the past two months, a massive 835,000 people have lost their job.

Unemployment rose to 7.1%, with the rise tempered by more people leaving the workforce, where the participation rate has fallen to 62.9%, its lowest level since 2001.

And don't forget that JobKeeper has sticky taped our economy together propping up 3 million jobs.

The ABS notes that if all of the 835,000  who lost their jobs in the past two months had actively sought work the unemployment rate would be 11.3% by now.A1

But there is a chance that we're over the worst.

This new data is for May, and while this data would normally be considered current, given that many parts of the economy have reopened in the past few weeks, and more parts are expected to reopen in the coming weeks, to some extent the unemployment data is ancient history.

Job slumped over March April and May as business is with you to hibernation but you're going to expect it from this month as businesses reopen and workers rejoin

There has been a significant increase in job ads on line portals over the last month. says job ads are up about 40% over the last month, in line with lock up restrictions lifting.

The sectors showing the most growth in job advertisements include:

  • Manufacturing, transport and logistics - up 33% over the last month
  • Trades and services (such as hairdressers, beauty salons) - up 36% over the last month
  • Hospitality and tourism - up 138% over the last month

Policy-makers have focused on total hours worked given the mass exodus from the labour force has distorted the measured unemployment rate.

Hours worked fell another 1%, to be 10% below pre-virus levels.

While weekly payrolls data suggest that employment had started to gradually recover over May, a key test will be the legislated end of the JobKeeper wage subsidy in late September.

About 3 million workers are currently on the subsidy,  which Treasury is reviewing ahead of the government’s economic and fiscal update next month.

The treasurer has suggested that the subsidy could continue in narrower form, perhaps with a reduced subsidy for some workers and a focus on the worst-hit industries, such as tourism.

Governor Lowe has warned that it is “very important we don’t withdraw the fiscal stimulus too early”, while pointing to the risk of job losses in construction and professional services when existing projects are completed later this year.


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About Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
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