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No Hit To Employment As JobKeeper Winds Up, Says ABS

The ABS has found no discernible impact from the end of JobKeeper on employment, with the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate dropping to 5.5 per cent despite the loss of 31,000 jobs.

In its latest Labour Force report, the ABS reported the sixth consecutive fall in the unemployment rate, which is now 0.2 percentage points – 33,000 people – above the start of the pandemic, and 2.0 percentage point below the peak in July 2020.

While 31,000 jobs were lost over the month of April, Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said this was likely due to month-to-month variation and seasonal factors rather than the end of the JobKeeper subsidy.

“We have not seen large changes in the indicators that would suggest a clear JobKeeper impact, such as an increase in people working reduced or zero hours for economic reasons or because they were leaving their job.

“We also haven’t seen large net flows out of employment across many population groups,” he said.

Hours worked decreased by 0.7 per cent, which the ABS attributes to workers taking leave during public and school holidays. Youth unemployment, meanwhile, has fallen to 10.6 per cent.

“The youth unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since the Global Financial Crisis, reflecting a strong increase in employment for young men, following a number of increases for young women in recent months,” said Jarvis.

A number of big companies that turned a profit during the COVID-19 pandemic have been criticised for refusing to pay back the money they received in JobKeeper subsidies, including Harvey Norman, which received $22 million; Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments this month decided to return the $15.6 million it received during Stage 1 of JobKeeper.

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