New figures from the ABS have signaled that the unemployment rate has dropped, in spite of the conclusion of the JobKeeper support package.
The figures contradict a number of forecasts from economists and industry analysts who expected the conclusion of the JobKeeper support package would send the unemployment rate jumping.
In total, Australia’s unemployment rate has dropped by 0.2% to 5.5% between the months of March and April 2021, with the ABS noting this is the sixth consecutive fall in the unemployment rate since October’s 6.9% figure.
It is also down 2% from its peak of July, 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic sent the strongest shockwaves through the economy.
Full-time employment increased by 33,800 to a total of 8,889,500, while the number of Australians employed on a part-time basis decreased by 64,400 to 4,150,900.
Head of labour statistics at the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Bjorn Jarvis has said in a statement that “the unemployment rate is now 0.2 percentage points (or 33,000 people) above the start of the pandemic.”
“Importantly, it’s 2.0 percentage points below its peak in July, 2020, when it was 7.4 percent,” he said.
The head of labour statistics at the ABS said that the conclusion of the JobKeeper package has not had a discernible effect on unemployment figures, bucking forecasts from economists.
The Unemployment Rate Has Dropped In Spite of JobKeeper Conclusion
“We have not seen large changes in the indicators that would suggest a clear JobKeeper impact, such as an increase in people working reduced or zero hours for economic reasons or because they were leaving their job.”
“We also haven’t seen large net flows out of employment across many population groups,” he added.
“Some of the 31,000 fall in employment may relate to the end of JobKeeper, but it could also reflect usual month-to-month variation in the labour market and some larger than usual seasonal changes similar to those we saw earlier in the year.”
According to the figures, there was a decline of 0.6% of female employment, with hours worked by females dropping by 1.6%. Male employment, on the other hand, remained steady after increasing by 0.1%.
The ABS also noted there was a higher than usual amount of Australians taking their holiday leave during school holidays and around public holidays.
“Like we saw in January, the number of people taking leave over the Easter public and school holidays was also higher than in the past,” which could have an impact on the seasonal factors the ASB mentions.
Overall, participation rates in the workforce dropped by 0.3% to 66% overall, which is around pre-pandemic economic levels. Female participation dropped 0.5% to 61.3%, while male participation rates sit around 70.8%.