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Jobless rate hits 10-year low as 22,000 return to work

A crowd of people crossing a busy road in a city.
The latest employment figures are in. (Image: Getty).

The jobless rate has fallen to 4.9 per cent in June from 5.1 per cent in May.

This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 2010.

Today’s figures mark the eighth consecutive monthly fall in the jobless rate, with the number of unemployed Australians decreasing by 22,000.

There are now 679,000 people unemployed, down around 325,000 from the 1 million July 2020 peak.

However, the youth unemployment rate remains high, head of labour statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Bjorn Jarvis observed.

The youth unemployment rate is 10.2 per cent after falling 0.5 percentage points, to its lowest point since January 2009.


The underemployment rate - or the number of workers who would like to have more hours - is now at 7.9 per cent, after marking a 0.5 percentage point increase.

Economists had predicted unemployment would remain around 5.1 per cent for June, with predictions ranging from 4.9 per cent to 5.2 per cent.

It comes as Sydney draws to the end of its third week of lockdown, with at least another two weeks of tough restrictions on the horizon.

The New South Wales restrictions, which kicked off on 23 June, fall outside of the reference period for the June set of unemployment figures.

Sydney lockdown effects to be seen, but Melbourne lockdown echoes through data

The number of hours worked in June decreased by 1.8 per cent, despite employment increasing.

"The 1.8 per cent fall followed an increase of 1.4 per cent in May and reflected a large fall in hours worked in Victoria (8.4 per cent) in June, which coincided with the lockdown that began on 28 May," the ABS said.

All up, the Victoria lockdown saw a drop of nearly 40 million hours worked between May and June. The ABS said more recent lockdowns in Western Australia also had observable impacts on hours worked earlier this year.

"Hours worked data continues to provide the best indicator of the extent of labour market impacts from lockdowns. Hours worked in Victoria fell by 8.4 per cent in June, compared with a 0.3 per cent fall in employment," Jarvis said.

"This highlights the extent to which people in Victoria had reduced hours or no work through the lockdown, without necessarily losing their jobs."