Surprise leap in unemployment as thousands lose work
The December labour force report shows continued strong demand for workers. Photo: Getty
Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly jumped to 5.2 per cent in October as more people sought work as major states began emerging from coronavirus lockdowns.
The jobless rate was 4.6 per cent in September.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics also said the number of people employed fell by 46,300, when economists had expected at 50,000 rise.
The participation rate of people in or seeking employment rose to 64.7 per cent in October compared with 64.5 per cent the previous month.
“The increases in unemployment show that people were preparing to get back to work, and increasingly available and actively looking for work – particularly in NSW, Victoria and the ACT,” ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis said.
“This follows what we have seen towards the end of other major lockdowns, including the one in Victoria late last year.”
Earlier, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg attended a virtual meeting of the finance ministers from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Britain and the US – hosted by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.
“Today’s meeting was an important opportunity to swap notes on how our nations are responding to COVID-19 and to secure our recovery from the greatest economic shock since the Great Depression,” Mr Frydenberg said.
“Importantly, I was able to share how our economy is coming back strongly from the most recent Delta-induced lockdowns with business and consumer confidence up and the unemployment rate remaining low.”