/ 20 August 2021

Devil’s in the detail on jobs…


Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6% in July – the lowest it’s been since December 2008.*

*Terms and conditions apply…

Well, July was a bit of a cluster disaster thanks to the coronavirus. The official numbers show 2,200 more people found jobs in July, taking the total number of people in work to 13.15 million. And there’s the rub… When Sydney went into lockdown in late June, the nation’s single biggest economic engine stalled. Victoria and South Australia also had stints locked down during the month. Long story short: 64,000 Aussies gave up looking for work in July, so they aren’t counted in the official numbers. And the number of hours worked by many people who kept their jobs in NSW fell by 7%, which is a big whack. So, yay, the unemployment rate is down, but boo, it “should not necessarily be viewed as a sign of strengthening in the labour market,” said Bjorn Jarvis from the Bureau of Stats.

Ooh yeah. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday said that the economy could shrink by more than 2% in the July-September quarter due to the rolling maul of lockdowns that have involved NSW, Victoria, Queensland, the ACT and the Top End. It’s a bit like saying what a long week it’s been when it’s only Tuesday because we’ve got the rest of August and September to go… But something to add to your Zoom drinks banter – if that was to happen, it would be the 2nd-worst quarterly economic performance Australia has ever recorded. Frydenberg is looking at it with his treasurer’s glass half-full… The lockdowns of July and August means there is “some $290 billion that’s been accumulated on household and business balance sheets… What that means is that money gets built up to be able to be spent.” Better start getting your list for Santa ready…

Image source: Unsplash

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