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ABS: Another Quarter Of A Million Lost Work In May

According to the latest employment figures from the ABS, a further 227,700 lost employment between April and May, with the employment rate falling from 62.5% to 58.7%.

“The drop in employment, of close to a quarter of a million people, added to the 600,000 in April, brings the total fall to 835,000 people since March,” said Bjorn Jarvis, Head of Labour Statistics at the ABS.

While monthly hours worked is down 10.2% compared to March, it only fell by 0.7% in May, likely led by COVID-19 restrictions easing.

“The ABS estimates that a combined group of around 2.3 million people – around 1 in 5 employed people – were affected by either job loss between April and May or had less hours than usual for economic reasons in May,” said Jarvis.

The underemployment rate sat at 13.1% in May, 4.3 points above March.

The unemployment rate rose to 7.1%, totalling 927,600 people. This marks the highest unemployment rate since October 2001.

As was the case in April, the unemployment rate in May was smaller due to larger than usual numbers of both employed and unemployed people leaving the labour force.

“Women continued to be more adversely affected by the labour market deterioration than men. Younger workers have also been particularly impacted,” said Jarvis.

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