Nearly 30,000 jobs lost in September as unemployment rises

·2-min read
A man begs for money along a street in Melbourne's city centre on September 17, 2020.
Australia's unemployment rate has risen slightly. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

Australia’s unemployment rate has risen by 0.1 per cent to 6.9 per cent, with almost 30,000 jobs lost in September.

The increase in the jobless rate, released by the ABS today, follows an unexpected drop to 6.8 per cent in August. In July, the jobless rate was 7.5 per cent.

“This is the second month in a row where there has not been much change in the national participation rate, following the recovery in June and July (1.4 and 0.6 percentage points),” said ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

The underemployment rate, which takes into account workers who would like to work more hours, similarly rose by 0.1 per cent, from 11.3 per cent to 11.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, the youth unemployment rate rose by 0.4 per cent to 14.5 per cent.

State by state, Queensland recorded the highest unemployment rate at 7.7 per cent, followed closely by Tasmania (7.6 per cent) and New South Wales (7.2 per cent).

Victoria, which has suffered the strictest lockdowns in the country, has an unemployment rate of 6.7 per cent, which is lower than the national average.

The lowest unemployment rate is in the Australian Capital Territory, with only 3.8 per cent of Aussies in this state unemployed.

Despite the slight uptick in the national jobless rate, KPMG chief economist Brendan Rynne said that ABS’ labour force data actually showed that “the Australian economy was continuing to recover in September”.

And while women saw sharper job losses in April and May, the tide is turning.

“Since then – with the exception of September – women returned to the workforce at a faster pace than men.

“The only reason this national trend did not continue into last month was because of a decline of 18,000 female workers in Victoria in September,” he said.

“In fact the lion’s share of lost female employment in Australia has occurred in Victoria, with about two-thirds of the 195,000 females who have lost their jobs since March 2020 living in that state.”

Seek’s employment report for October paint a more positive picture of the jobs market, with job ads on the platform up by 9.2 per cent month-on-month.

The jobs with the greatest job growth month on month were in the industries of hospitality and tourism, trades and services, and sales.

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland contributed the most job ads, though job ads were up in every single state and territory.

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