Employment Bouncing Back in Australia Says Treasurer

August 24, 2020 Updated: August 24, 2020

Latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) have given the Morrison government some good news with new data showing that the economy is slowly recovering from the effects of the CCP virus with the employment rate increasing in July.

According to the ABS 114,700 people returned to work between June and July, with full-time employment increasing by 43,500 people and part-time employment increasing by 71,200 people.

ABS told The Epoch Times on Aug. 24: “Overall, the percentage of people employed in Australia increased by 0.5 percentage points to 59.8 percent, up from a low of 58.2 percent in May.”

According to the ABS, there was particularly strong growth in New South Wales with the figures noting that 56,800 gained employment in the June-July period.

Rises in employment were also seen in Tasmania and South Australia with ABS observing that in Western Australia, 19,100 new jobs were created. At the same time, Victoria also saw a rise with 22,900 people obtaining work.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Sky News on Aug. 24 that jobs are starting to come back.

“We know that from the 1.3 million people who either lost their job or had their hours reduced down to zero from the start of the crisis, around 700,000 are now back at work,” said the treasurer.

But Frydenberg explained on Triple M on Aug.24 that Australia was in for a long and bumpy economic recovery.

“The will be significant job losses in Victoria,” said Frydenberg, explaining that Treasury had forecast up to 400,000 Victorians will either lose their jobs or have their hours reduced to zero as a result of the Stage Four COVID-19 lockdowns.

At present ABS has the national unemployment rate officially at 7.5 percent. However, Frydenberg said on Aug.24 that Treasury estimated the effective unemployment rate is at 9.9 percent after those who have either lost their job, left the workforce, or seen their hours down to zero were taken into account.

JobKeeper Keeping Unemployment Down

It could have been worse though, according to the Governor of the Reserve Bank Philip Lowe.

In an address to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Economics on Aug. 14, Lowe said the unemployment rate would be considerably higher if it were not for JobKeeper and other income support programs established by the Morrison government.

“The JobKeeper program is really about keeping people in jobs, isn’t it? It’s done a remarkably good job at that,” Lowe explained.

Currently, the treasurer estimates that nearly 4 million Australian workers will be on JobKeeper for the September quarter.

Frydenberg noted that a recent analysis by Treasury of JobKeeper and other economic support measures showed that the government had managed to save 700,000 jobs.

Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry Brendan O’Connor said in an interview with Sky News on Aug. 14 that he believed JobKeeper alone would not ensure economic recovery and warned the government to listen to economists and those in the business sector.

“Everyone is expecting the government to outline a jobs plan in October. I would prefer that they brought that forward and started to instill confidence in businesses and the community generally that they have a plan beyond just wage subsidies,” said O’Connor.

“It’s not enough just to rely upon a descending level of support in the form of a wage subsidy until March, and then we’re off a cliff,” said O’Connor.