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Australia unemployment rate jumps to 19-year high

Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 18, 2020
Australia's economy shed a further 227,700 jobs in May, causing the unemployment rate to surge to a 19-year high of 7.1% as coronavirus lockdowns continued to undermine business confidence and cripple activity.
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The plunge in employment compared with an expected decline of 75,000, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said Thursday.

Topics: Australia

The drop in employment added to a 600,000 fall in April, bringing the total to 835,000 since March.

The increase in the unemployment rate was tempered by larger-than-usual numbers of employed and unemployed people leaving the labor force, the ABS said.

This was reflected in a further drop in the participation rate, which fell 0.7 percentage point to 62.9% in May, a 19-year low.

The pandemic has pushed Australia's economy into its first recession in 29 years but signs of a recovery are beginning to emerge.

Consumer confidence and spending data have been looking more positive in recent weeks. The underemployment rate fell to 13.1% from 13.8%.

"It will take us around two years to get back to where we were before it happened, and we think over five years we can seek to catch up to where we were planning to be," Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters.