Labour force figures released today by the ABS for the month of July demonstrate the underlying strength of the Australian labour market and show that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions resulted in some improvement in the labour market.
Employment increased by 114,700 (or 0.9 per cent) over the month, exceeding median market expectations. Full-time employment increased by 43,500 (or 0.5 per cent) and part-time employment rose by 71,200 (or 1.9 per cent).
The effective unemployment rate for July is 9.9 per cent, down from its peak of 14.9 per cent in April.
Encouragingly, female employment increased by 59,500 (or 1.0 per cent) in July, while youth employment rose by 55,600 (or 3.2 per cent).
While the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose marginally to 7.5 per cent this was driven by a 0.6 percentage point increase in the participation rate to 64.7 per cent as 130,500 people entered the labour force.
It is important to note that most of the July Labour Force Survey reference period (28 June to 11 July) pre-dates the implementation of Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne (on 8 July and 5 August, respectively) that were put in place due to the outbreak of COVID-19 cases.
Despite today’s positive figures, the Government remains acutely aware that the economic fallout from COVID-19 will continue for some time particularly in light of the outbreak of cases in Victoria. This is why the Government has moved quickly to protect both the health and jobs of all Australians and has put in place sustainable measures to help cushion the impact of the pandemic.
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, said in order to help keep businesses in business and Australians in jobs, the Morrison Government committed an initial $70 billion in JobKeeper payments to help support Australian workers.
“The Government remains cognisant, however, of the need to remain agile and the importance of responding flexibly to outbreaks of COVID-19, to help mitigate the impact on the labour market,” Minister Cash said.
“In recognition of the difficulties that businesses and employees are encountering as a result of the Stage 3 and 4 restrictions in Victoria, as well as the negative economic impact of the outbreak of COVID-19 in the State, the Government has made changes to JobKeeper eligibility and is committing a further $15.6 billion over 2020-21 to help keep businesses afloat and workers in jobs.”
“This builds on the Government’s announcement last month of the $1 billion JobTrainer fund to help create 340,700 new training places and a further $1.5 billion in support for small and medium businesses to retain their apprentices.” Minister Cash said.