Source: Reuters
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  • Australia’s unemployment rate dropped again in August, to the lowest level in almost 13 years
  • However the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has also reported the loss of 211,188 people from the national workforce in August
  • New South Wales had the biggest drop with a loss of 173,000 jobs since the lockdown began in June
  • Roughly 66 million hours of work were lost in August as job security falls

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported the loss of 211,188 people from the national workforce last month.

Amid ongoing COVID-19 lockdowns, the total unemployment rate has fallen from 4.6 per cent to 4.5 per cent – a 13-year low – despite a loss of 146,300 jobs in August.

The data collected from the first two weeks of the month was reflective of COVID-19 lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory, in addition to changes to restrictions in other parts of Australia.

New South Wales reported the larges loss of jobs, a total of 173,000 since the lockdown began in June.

Underemployment also up

While the jobless rate may be at an almost 13-year low, the underemployment rate remains the best way to gauge labour statistics according to ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

“The relatively large fall in unemployment, which accounted for around 13 per cent of the 168,000 person fall in the total labour force, meant that the unemployment rate fell by 0.1 percentage points to 4.5 per cent,” Mr Jarvis said.

In August, roughly 66 million hours of work were lost as total hours worked continued to fall.

“There are always some employed people who are temporarily working reduced hours or no hours in a given month, but the current wave of lockdowns has seen this become more common,” Mr Jarvis said.

“Compared with August 2019, there were an extra 1.2 million employed people who worked reduced hours for economic and other reasons in August 2021, including 532,000 who worked no hours for those reasons.

Hours worked index
Employment and hours fall as lockdowns increase 16/09/2021 Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

“The large fall in the national participation rate reflects a large fall in both employment and unemployment (146,000 and 22,000 respectively) in August.”

The September edition of employment data will be released on Thursday, 23 September 2021.

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