There are signs of a tentative turnaround in the Australian economy as job losses begin to slow for the first time.
Over the seven weeks from mid-March to early May, total payroll jobs fell by 7.3 per cent, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
“The latest data shows a further slowing in the fall in COVID-19 job losses between mid-April and early May,” said ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis. “The largest net job losses over the seven weeks of the COVID-19 period, in percentage terms, were in Victoria and New South Wales, where the falls in payroll jobs were around 8.4 per cent and 7.7 per cent.”
Payroll jobs worked by people under 20 showed the largest falls (-14.6 per cent) and were particularly high in the ACT.
But some industries were also showing a reduced impact in recent weeks.
“The accommodation and food services industry had lost around a third of payroll jobs (33.3 per cent) by the week ending 11 April, and a subsequent increase in jobs saw this reduce to around 27.1 per cent by the week ending 2 May,” Mr Jarvis said. “The week-to-week changes are much smaller than they were early in the COVID-19 period.
“The decrease in the number of jobs in the week ending 2 May was 1.1 per cent, which was only slightly larger than the 0.9 per cent increase in the week ending 25 April.”
The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ April unemployment figures showed that unemployment rose by 104,500 to 823,000, or 6.2 per cent – far below some predictions of a rise in unemployment to more than 8 per cent.
However, around 2.7 million people either left employment or had their hours reduced, while under-utilisation (which combines the underemployment and unemployment rates) also rose to a record high of 19.9 per cent.