Saturday, November 27, 2021

Australian employment slides into August as lockdown slashes worker hours

SYDNEY – Australian employment in Sydney and Melbourne in August as coronavirus lockdowns forced businesses to lay off workers and cut hours, while a sharp drop in the number of people looking for work slashed the unemployment rate. Went.

Thursday’s data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed employment fell by 146,000 in August, compared with forecasts of an average decline of 90,000.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.5 per cent, having already fallen to 4.6 per cent in July, when the lockdown also distorted the data.

The ABS cautioned that the drop in the unemployment rate was due to people dropping out of the labor force, noting how difficult it was to find work in the lockdown. Only people actively looking for work are counted as unemployed.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labor statistics at ABS, said: “The decline in the unemployment rate reflects a large decline in participation during the recent lockdown, rather than a consolidation in labor market conditions.”

“The data on hours worked continues to provide the best indicator of labor market impacts and recovery from the lockdown,” he said.

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Working hours in August fell by 3.7 percent nationally and by 6.5 percent in New South Wales, where Sydney remained closed for the entire month.

Similarly, the participation rate fell 0.8 percentage points to 65.2 percent, while underemployment jumped a full point to 9.3 percent as workers’ hours were restricted.

“The September print for the labor force will be another important step, as it will cover the full impact of Victoria’s lockdown,” said Sarah Hunter, chief Australia economist at BIS Oxford Economics.

“The degree of disorganization in economic activity means that GDP is expected to decline by about 4 per cent in the September quarter.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has warned that the unemployment rate is likely to rise above 5 per cent once the full impact is felt, although it is also optimistic that the economy will recover quickly once lockdowns are eased.

A sharp increase in vaccination has allowed the New South Wales government to relax restrictions by mid-October, with Victoria likely to follow.

by Wayne Cole

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This News Originally From – The Epoch Times

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