The economy’s reopening in June saw a increase in people back in the workplace, but over one million Australians either work fewer hours or no hours at all, while not officially listed as unemployed.
April was the peak of job hit while businesses were largely closed. In April, 1.8 million people worked fewer than normal hours, or zero hours.
The number of “underemployed” was 1.15 million in June, an improvement of 400,000 since May and 600,000 since April, figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show on Thursday.
In June about 230,000 of the underemployed had no jobs at all and 920,000 worked fewer than average hours.
In addition to this, another 69,000 people entered the queue on unemployment, bringing the number of unemployed to 992,300. Some of them were not included in May’s labour force because they weren’t working, but they weren’t looking for jobs officially.
In June there are half a million fewer Australians at work than in June last year-310,000 fewer at full-time jobs.
211,000 people re-entered the workforce in June, on the optimistic side of the ledger. But all of that was in part-time jobs. Full-time jobs withdrew. Another 38,000 full-time jobs were lost to the economy, with an extra 249,000 part-time jobs created.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the July data would show the impact of the Victorian lockdown, but the June data showed there was hope.
“The Australian economy is fighting back,” he said, with people kept in jobs, even with fewer hours.
“Let’s lift our heads and keep looking forward,” he said.
But Mr Morrison also acknowledged that the Victorian outbreak was worse than hoped and “a big setback”.
“The extent of the outbreak in Victoria is beyond what we hoped would have occurred. I think that is fairly self-evident,” he said, as Victoria recorded a record daily coronavirus tally of 317 new cases.
“The Victorian situation is very concerning, but … they are hopeful that what we are seeing is those figures are starting to level out.”