Walker Hill Group

Unemployment at its lowest point in a decade

The Australian economy had shown “remarkable resilience” faced with Covid-19.

Although still struggling with lockdowns nationwide, there have been some astonishing numbers released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week that show that unemployment in Australia has hit its lowest point in a decade.

Back in May this year, shortly ahead of the release of the Federal Budget, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced the Government’s aim for less than 5 per cent unemployment before any budget repair would be considered. Frydenberg warned that substantial wage growth would not be possible until unemployment had a “four in front of it.” Today, it appears that the Government’s fiscal strategy has been a success, with figures showing unemployment down to 4.9 per cent.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg owed the “very significant” milestone to the strategy, telling Finance News Australia that “Our economic plan is working. There are more people in work today than before the pandemic began, and our economy is bigger today than before the pandemic began.” 

Almost 30,000 jobs were created in June, according to the Bureau of Statistics data.

Frydenberg continued, “There is still a long way to go to secure our economic recovery, but Australia’s economy is resilient, it is strong… today’s job numbers underline that very fact.”

Gareth Aird, head of Australian economics at the Commonwealth Bank, said the data showed “exceptionally strong momentum” within the recent labour market

However, he said things had taken a “dramatic turn” in New South Wales, with the lockdown of Greater Sydney in lockdown over recent weeks, and COVID now spreading again back to Victoria and Queensland. “The lockdown of Greater Sydney has significantly increased the level of uncertainty over economic outcomes in the near term,” he noted.

Aird said the impact of the current lockdowns would be captured in the July and August labour force surveys.

However, Dr Sarah Hunter, Chief Australia Economist for BIS Oxford Economics, said before the NSW outbreak that the June employment data show the economy had strong momentum for recovery.

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