Australia’s employment rate plunges on closures

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Australian employment fell more than expected and the unemployment rate rose as a sharp rise in cases of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 closed businesses in the country’s two largest cities.

The economy lost 138,000 jobs last month, compared to economists’ estimate of a drop of 110,000, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics showed yesterday.

The unemployment rate rose to 4.6%, although still lower than economists’ forecast of 4.8%.

The turnout fell to 64.5% from 65.2% in August

“Extended shutdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have seen employment and hours worked fall below pre-pandemic levels,” labor statistics, Bjorn Jarvis, in a statement. “The low national unemployment rate continues to reflect reduced participation during recent closures, rather than strong labor market conditions. “

The result reflects multi-month closures along Australia’s populated east coast, with Sydney just this week making attempts to reopen.

The job market had been one of the strongest parts of the A $ 2 trillion (US $ 1.5 trillion) economy prior to the COVID-19 outbreak and the Reserve Bank of Australia has said employers had tried to stay in touch with staff as they waited for a quick rebound.

The weak figures underscore the need for monetary policy to remain accommodative.

The central bank reiterated the need to keep the policy rate at a historically low 0.1% until at least 2024, as pressures on wages and inflation are expected to remain subdued.

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