Virus crisis pushes 1m out of work

Sarah Kendell
— 1 minute read

More than a million Australians have lost their jobs since the start of the coronavirus crisis and 10 per cent of the labour force are working less hours than they wish to, according to new statistics.

Roy Morgan’s employment estimates for June showed that 3.45 million workers were currently unemployed or underemployed, amounting to almost a quarter of the total workforce.

While this was an improvement of 5,000 compared to May’s employment figures, the data also showed that 1.03 million more people were out of work since early March, when the coronavirus pandemic began.


Underemployment also rose dramatically in June, the data revealed, with 37,000 more people working less hours than they wanted to.

A total of 1.41 million people, or 10 per cent of Australia’s workforce, were underemployed by the end of the month.

However, total unemployment did drop slightly in June according to the research firm’s figures, with 2.05 million workers unemployed compared to 2.09 million in May.

Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said the mild recovery was led by states where restrictions were beginning to ease, such as NSW and South Australia.

“The monthly drop in unemployment was driven by the decline in NSW with unemployment dropping to 12 per cent, down 1 per cent in May, and clearly the lowest of any state,” Ms Levine said.

“Unemployment also declined in South Australia but was largely unchanged, or slightly up, in other states.”

Ms Levine said the figures illustrated that the economy had a long way to go before a sustained recovery was underway.

“The small changes in unemployment and [underemployment] in June illustrate just how much new growth is required to provide jobs for the more than 1 million Australians now unemployed that were working prior to the COVID-19 [shutdowns] enforced in mid-March,” she said.

“The developing situation in Victoria demonstrates that while in recent weeks many have considered the worst of COVID-19 may already be over, there is always the chance the virus can pose a renewed threat that does more damage to lives and livelihoods and the economy more broadly.”


Virus crisis pushes 1m out of work
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