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Australian labour market – recovery over and more fiscal stimulus is needed

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics – Labour Force, Australia, October 2020 – released today (October 15, 2020) shows that the recovery has stalled on the back of the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria as that state dealt with the second virus wave. However, Tasmania and the Northern Territory also experienced employment losses in September 2020 and that is in part due to the locked internal borders that remain throughout Australia. Employment growth declined by 29.5 thousand but the rise in unemployment was only 11.3 thousand because the participation rate fell by 0.1 points. So, hidden unemployment rose (the slack sitting outside the official labour force). If we take a broader view of the labour underutilisation rate, underemployment rose by 0.1 points to 11.3 per cent and combined with the uneployment rate, the broad labour underutilisation rate rose by 0.2 points to 18.3 per cent. If we add in the rise in hidden unemployment then that figure rises to 20.3 per cent. Any government that oversees that sort of disaster has failed in their basic responsibilities to society. It must increase its fiscal stimulus and target it towards large-scale job creation.

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