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More jobs than workers as unemployment rate drops again

Jobs: People walk on a city street in Australia wearing masks and a map of Australia.
Australia's jobless rate fell to 3.4 per cent in July. (Source: Getty)

Australia now has more available jobs than unemployed people, according to new data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Australia’s unemployment rate fell to 3.4 per cent in July - the lowest it has been since August 1974.

"The fall in unemployment in July reflects an increasingly tight labour market, including high job vacancies and ongoing labour shortages,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.

“In July, there were fewer unemployed people (474,000) than there were job vacancies (480,000 in May).”


The number of unemployed people decreased by 20,000 in July, not necessarily because they found work, but rather because they stopped looking for work.

The ABS said the July reference period coincided with the winter school holidays, worker absences associated with COVID and other illnesses, and further flooding events in New South Wales.

Why prices may rise

Businesses of all shapes and sizes are being affected by the worker shortage, with consumers potentially paying the price.

One effect of a worker shortage is small businesses choosing to close their doors, unable to continue without staff, leaving consumers with less choice.

Another side effect is businesses having to offer higher wages, the cost of which can also be passed on to the consumer.

And, in a time when the cost of living is already rising - thanks to the pandemic, the war in Ukraine and floods in Australia - a worker shortage could be another headwind.

The effects of this have already been witnessed.

Rami Ykmour, founder of popular Aussie restaurant chain Rashays, recently aired his frustrations with the skills shortage.

“The real problem is with short labour. The real problem is no one’s out there to pick cos lettuce,” he said.

“There’s no one out there to pick iceberg. There’s no one to work in our farms.”

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