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25,500 more Aussies out of work amid ‘urgent crisis’

Anastasia Santoreneos
·2-min read
Businessman sitting hopelessly on stair in central business district due to unemployment.
25,500 more Aussies out of work amid ‘urgent crisis’. Source: Getty

The Australian unemployment rate has increased to 7 per cent, with a further 25,500 people out of work across the month of October, according to labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The jobless rate rose just 0.1 per cent from the previous month.

To be included in the unemployment rate, Australians must be actively looking for work and available to start work. Head of labour statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said this cohort of Australians had increased across the month of October.

The participation rate, which measures the amount of Australians current employed, also increased by nearly a whole percentage point.

Now, it is just 0.1 percentage point below March levels.

The youth unemployment rate increased by 1 percentage point to 15.6 per cent, but the participation rate for 15 to 24 year olds was showing signs of recovery, rising by 2.2 percentage points to 68.2 per cent throughout October.

Underemployment decreased 1 percentage point to 10.4 per cent - a whopping 3.4 percentage points below its peak in April this year.

Employment across the nation rose by 178,800 people (1.4 per cent) between September and October.

"This strong increase means that employment in October was only 1.7 percentage point below March, and reflects a large flow of people from outside the labour force back into employment,” Jarvis said.

Victoria showed a strong rise in hours work as the state exited its 111-day lockdown, with hours increasing by 5.6 percentage points.

Wage growth at record low

The labour force data comes just one day after it was revealed wage growth had slumped to its slowest pace on record, with the wage percentage index (WPI) rising just 0.1 per cent over the September quarter.

It brings annual wage growth to a historic low of 1.4 per cent.

The Australian Council of Trade Unions said the ABS data should serve as a reminder to the Morrison Government that the Covid-19 crisis was still hurting Australians.

“Working people are still on the frontlines of this crisis,” ACTU secretary, Sally McManus, said.

“More than 3 million are reliant on JobKeeper, and 1.4 million people are unemployed and relying on JobSeeker. This crisis has shown that the underlying problems in our economy, low wage growth and spiralling insecure work, need to be addressed urgently.”

The Government predicts Australia’s unemployment rate will topple 8 per cent by the end of the year as lockdown restrictions take their toll.

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