Australian unemployment falls to 6.4 pct in January

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, February 18, 2021
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CANBERRA, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Australia's unemployment rate has fallen for the third consecutive month as the country continues to recover from the coronavirus economic crisis.

According to data published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday, the unemployment rate fell from 6.6 percent in December to 6.4 percent in January.

The improvement was driven by an increase of 59,000 full-time position while part-time work decreased.

Underemployment fell from 8.5 percent in December to 8.1 percent, which was lower than the pre-pandemic levels.

"Nationally, employment was only 59,000 people lower than March 2020, having fallen by 872,000 people early in the pandemic," Bjorn Jarvis, the head of labor statistics at the ABS, said in a media release.

However, unemployment is expected to rise again when the government ends the JobKeeper wage subsidy scheme in March.

Responding to the figures, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that they demonstrated the "resilience" of the Australian economy, adding, "Yes, JobKeeper is coming to an end in March. But the Australian labor market will continue to be resilient as we taper off those payments."

The number of hours worked by Australians fell by 4.9 percent between December and January but the ABS attributed it to more workers than usual taking leave in January.

"After a tough 2020, more Australians than usual took leave in the first two weeks of January, particularly full-time workers," Jarvis said.

"However, the number of employed people who worked zero hours in early January in the capital cities also reflects some ongoing effects of recent lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne." Enditem

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