Labour force figures released today by the ABS show that the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has resulted in some improvement in the labour market, with the level of employment increasing by 210,800 (or 1.7 per cent) in June, exceeding all market expectations.
Encouragingly, female employment increased by 124,800 (or 2.2 per cent) in June, accounting for around 59 per cent of employment growth over the month.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage points, to 7.4 per cent in June. Encouragingly, this was driven by a 1.3 percentage point increase in the participation rate, to 64.0 per cent in June, as 280,100 people entered the labour force.
The Government remains acutely aware that the economic fallout from COVID-19 will continue for some time, particularly in light of the recent outbreak of cases in Victoria.
Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, highlighted that the Government moved quickly to protect both the health and jobs of all Australians and put in place sustainable measures to help cushion the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The Morrison Government also announced today that it will invest $2 billion to give hundreds of thousands of Australians access to new skills by retraining and upskilling them into sectors with job opportunities,” Minister Cash said.
The new JobTrainer skills package will also guarantee support for tens of thousands of apprentices in jobs across Australia, by subsidising their wages to keep them employed and their training secured.
The package includes an additional $1.5 billion to expand the wage incentive to help keep apprentices in work. It builds on the initial $1.3 billion package announced in March.
In addition to small businesses already covered, the wage subsidy will now be available to medium businesses with less than 200 employees for apprentices employed as at 1 July 2020. Around 180,000 apprentices and 90,000 small and medium businesses that employ them will now be supported, with the program extended by six months to March 2021.
The new $1 billion JobTrainer Fund will provide up to an additional 340,700 training places across Australia to help school leavers and job seekers access pre-apprenticeships, short courses and full qualifications to develop new skills in growth sectors and create a pathway to more qualifications.
The Federal Government will continue to work collaboratively with our State and Territory counterparts, through the National Cabinet, to help put Australia back on the path to recovery from COVID-19.