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Australian labour market – more than 2 million workers without work – 14.7 per cent

The Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest labour force data today (November 11, 2021) – Labour Force, Australia – for October 2021. The background is that the entire East Coast has now come out of an extended lockdown over the last few months. The October 2021 data reveals the damage that those lockdowns have caused. But, given that today’s data reflects what was happening about a month ago, it is still too early to say what the speed of recovery will be although more recent payroll data suggests that employment growth is rebounding. But the story of today’s data is that total employment and the unemployment rate are worse than before the pandemic – so the nation has lost ground over the last 20 months. And that is largely because the federal government withdrew its fiscal stimulus too early. The summary results are clear: employment continues to contract, the unemployment and broader underutilisation rates soared. There are nearly 2 million Australian workers without work in one way or another (officially unemployed or underemployed) and several hundred thousand who have left the active labour force due to lack of employment opportunities. Overall, the labour market is in poor shape and the federal government is doing nothing to help. The lack of any significant stimulus from the federal government is telling. There is now definite evidence that further and rather massive fiscal support is required.

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