Australia’s unemployment rate is set to surge to ten per cent – a level unseen since 1994 – as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns.
Both the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury are expecting the official unemployment rate to exceed ten percent this month as the health pandemic caused an even faster downturn than the 1930s Great Depression.
The unemployment level surged from 5.2 per cent in March to a five-year high of 6.2 per cent in April as the closure of non-essential hospitality businesses caused 600,000 Australians to either go on the dole.
The rate would have been higher if not for the numbers on the temporary JobKeeper welfare program which will end in September.
International tourist arrivals plunged by a record 99.3 per cent in April, following the closure of Australia’s border to non-citizens and visitors.
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Australia’s unemployment rate is set to surge to 10 per cent, reaching a level unseen since 1994 as a result of the coronavirus shutdowns. Both the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury are bracing for a double-digit jobless figures this month as health pandemic causes an even faster downturn than the 1930s Great Depression. Pictured is a Centrelink queue at Abbotsford in Melbourne
While some businesses are slowly reopening, many shops across Australia remain closed as some gyms struggle to attract back their old members. Pictured is a reopened Fitness First gym at Hornsby in Sydney’s north
Economists are expecting the May unemployment figures, due for release on Thursday, to edge higher as the economy sank into recession for the first time in almost three decades.
COVID-19 labour market at a glance
Unemployment: it surged from 5.2 per cent in March to 6.2 per cent in April – the highest since September 2015
Number unemployed climbed by 104,500 to 823,300
In April, 489,800 people left the labour force, which meant 594,300 either lost their job or gave up looking for one
Underemployment soared by 4.9 percentage points to record 13.7 per cent
Tally of underemployed Australians surged by 603,300 to 1.8million
Participation rate plunged by an unprecedented 2.4 percentage points to 63.5 per cent
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
The number of payroll jobs plunged by 7.5 per cent between March 14, before the business shutdowns, until May 30, new Australian Bureau of Statistics data released on Tuesday showed.
The means the number of people with a job has fallen from 13million to 12million in two months.
While that jobs decline was steep, many of them won’t show up as officially unemployed, as shutdowns have stopped people being able to find another job.
Many people in this situation would have left the labour market in despair.
National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster said the jobless rate for May was likely to rise only slightly to 6.5 per cent, as those not looking for work – who are not included in unemployment figures – was much higher than usual due to COVID-19 shutdowns reducing available employment.
The true level of unemployment, beyond the ABS definition of someone actively looking for work, was likely to be much higher.
‘The unemployment is already close to ten but the system defines unemployed as, one, don’t have a job and, two, and are actively looking to find another job,’ Mr Oster told Daily Mail Australia.
‘A lot of people in industries that have closed down, they still want to stay in those industries who obviously aren’t looking for a job.’
Mr Oster said a much higher 19.9 per cent of the Australian labour market was either unemployed, had given up looking for work or was under employed.
‘That is what we call the under-utilisation of labour,’ he said.
‘Take the unemployment, you add on those who are not actively looking for a job and you add on those who are working less hours.’
In a sign of things to come, the Department of Social Services revealed earlier this month the number of people on JobSeeker – covering unemployment, sickness and Youth Allowance benefits – surged by 300,000 in just one month, climbing from 1.346million on April 24 to 1.641million by May 22.
International tourist arrivals plunged by a record 99.3 per cent in April, following the closure of Australia’s border to non-citizens and visitors. Pictured is an empty Sydney Opera House in March
While some businesses are slowly reopening, many businesses across Australia remain closed or open in a restricted form as social distancing rules remain in place and many people continue to work from home and are not visiting shopping areas.
‘As you reopen, and even if you don’t lose any more jobs, the unemployment rate goes up because people are now trying to find a job, so therefore they’ll be counted as unemployed,’ Mr Oster said.
Despite that, Prime Minister Scott Morrison is adamant the $70billion JobKeeper program, providing $1,500 a fortnight wage subsidies, won’t be extended beyond the September end date.
‘There will always be a case made for spending more and for spending longer, and there are plenty who are happy to make that case,’ he said on Monday.
This is despite Treasury and the Australian Taxation Office last month revealing the program would cost way less than the original $130billion price tag announced at the end of March as the extent of the pandemic was much smaller than first feared.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is adamant the $70billion JobKeeper program, providing $1,500 a fortnight wage subsidies, won’t be extended beyond the September end date. Pictured is a Centrelink queue in Brisbane in March
Mr Oster said the government would need to maintain JobKeeper to struggling sectors, like international tourism, universities and commercial property.
‘You can’t just turn it off,’ he said.
‘There are large chunks that will basically still be almost dead by the time you get to the end of September.’
Should the government’s earlier unemployment predictions come true, Australia would by June have a ten per cent jobless figure for the first time since April 1994, when Paul Keating was Labor prime minister.
Following the last recession in mid-1991, unemployment reached ten per cent in September of that year and remained in double digits for 32 months.
National Australia Bank chief economist Alan Oster said the government would need to maintain JobKeeper beyond September to help struggling sectors, like international tourism, universities and commercial property. Pictured is an empty Museum of Contemporary Art cafe overlooking Sydney’s Circular Quay
NAB had earlier predicted an 11.7 per cent jobless rate, the highest since the 1930s Great Depression, but was now predicting a smaller 8.5 per cent peak.
‘To get paid the dole, you don’t actually have to be looking for a job – those rules are not going to change until July so therefore the unemployment rate is going to start going up once people have to go looking for a job,’ Mr Oster said.
‘Hopefully, by July, we think the labour market might be a bit better and maybe it won’t go up as aggressively as we previously thought.’
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this month confirmed Australia was most likely already in recession, after official data showed the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter – the first since early 2011.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg earlier this month confirmed Australia was most likely already in recession, after official data showed the economy contracted by 0.3 per cent in the March quarter – the first since early 2011
‘The answer to that is yes,’ he said.
‘That is on the basis of the advice that I have from the Treasury department about where the June quarter is expected to be.’
Mr Frydenberg is the first Australian treasurer to confirm a recession since Paul Keating as an ambitious treasurer memorably said in late 1990: ‘This is the recession that Australia had to have.’
The unemployment figures for June won’t be released until July 16.
Australia won’t have official confirmation of a recession until September 2, when the ABS national accounts figures for the June quarter are released.
The Reserve Bank is already expecting Australia’s economy to shrink by 10 per cent in the first half of 2020 – which would be equivalent to four-and-a-half years of gross domestic product growth.
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US billionaires gained $845 BILLION during the first six months of the pandemic
America’s billionaires have reaped a windfall during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic, gaining a collective $845 billion even as jobless claims hit record highs and millions were thrown out of work.
The gains represent a 29 percent jump in net worth for America’s billionaires, according to a join report on Thursday from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies, a politically liberal think-tank.
The report, based on data from Forbes, shows how the richest have prospered during a pandemic that has crushed small businesses and wreaked havoc on the economy.
In dollar terms, no one gained more than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, who saw his net worth increase by $73.2 billion, to $186.2 billion, between March 18 and September 15.
This table shows the gains of the 15 richest billionaires in America, who gained a collective $400 billion, or nearly half of the total gains of all billionaires
In dollar terms, no one gained more than Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (above), the world’s richest man, who saw his net worth increase by $73.2 billion, to $186.2 billion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg (left) nearly doubled his net worth to $100.6 billion, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s (right) net worth skyrocketed 274 percent to $92 billion
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also saw handsome gains during the pandemic, nearly doubling his net worth to $100.6 billion.
On a percentage basis, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s wealth soared, with his net worth skyrocketing 274 percent to $92 billion over the six-month period.
Bill Gates, the second richest man in the world after Bezos, saw more modest gains, adding a mere $18.3 billion to his net worth.
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison gained $20.2 billion over the last six months, and stands to gain even more if President Donald Trump approves his company’s proposal to partner with TikTok parent ByteDance to keep the Chinese video-sharing app running in the U.S.
It comes during a period of historic economic and physical suffering for most Americans.
Over 50 million Americans lost jobs in the pandemic, with nearly 14 million still unemployed. Meanwhile, nearly 200,000 have died from the virus, with a total of 6.6 million infected.
Oracle chairman Larry Ellison gained $20.2 billion over the last six months, while Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett (right) saw his net worth rise by $15.7 billion
‘The billionaire economy has been turbocharged by policymakers who are now stalling on relief for the real economy,’ said Chuck Collins, director of the Institute for Policy Studies’ Program on Inequality and co-author of the report.
‘The difference is stark between profits for billionaires and the widespread economic misery in our nation. Clearly, the priorities of our elected officials in Washington, DC are completely upside down,’ Collins said.
Even among billionaires, the richest gains were highly concentrated. Roughly $400 billion, or only a little less than half of the total gains, were captured by just the 15 wealthiest on the billionaires list.
The top three gainers alone – Bezos, Zuckerberg and Musk – enjoyed 16 percent of the spoils, or a collective wealth surge of $137 billion.
MacKenzie Scott, the ex-wife of Jeff Bezos, gained $23.9 billion during the pandemic
Struggling New Yorkers line up at a food bank outside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last week. Millions have been thrown out of work during the pandemic, even as billionaires gained
Although stocks, which make up most of the net worth of the nation’s billionaires, tanked in March, their gains during the pandemic do not merely reflect the subsequent recovery on Wall Street.
Billionaires are also $680 billion, or 22 percent, richer today than they were in February 2019, the release date of the most recent previous Forbes annual report.
‘Every candidate in this campaign season, from presidential hopeful down, who’s pledging to lead us out of the coronavirus crisis must address this stark divergence between the nation’s wealthiest elite and their struggling fellow citizens,’ said Frank Clemente, executive director of Americans for Tax Fairness, a left-leaning advocacy group.
‘The answer starts with creating a fair share tax system that narrows obscene wealth gaps and raises the trillions of dollars needed to address the present emergency and invest in our families and communities over the long-term,’ said Clemente.
In August, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota introduced a bill that would tax 60 percent of the gains of billionaires during the pandemic.
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How a new coronavirus cluster is threatening Melbourne’s path out of lockdown
The success of Melbourne‘s ongoing lockdown could be at risk with a new cluster emerging in the southeast of the city, testing the capacity of COVID-detectives.
There are currently 101 active coronavirus cases in the Casey and Dandenong area with 34 infections linked to five households in the Afghan community.
As residents in the city are still under strict Stage Four lockdown which restricts families travelling more than 5km from their homes to visit other households, it’s thought the infected group may have breached the stay-at-home orders.
Health authorities are now scrambling to track and trace the new surge in cases and the Victorian government has even began a new recruitment drive that will see retired officers re-enlisted to bolster the state’s frontline virus efforts.
There are currently 101 active coronavirus cases in the Casey and Dandenong area with 34 infections linked to five households
The Victorian government has even began a new recruitment drive that will see retired officers re-enlisted to bolster the state’s frontline virus efforts
‘Members of those households visiting other households,’ Department of Health and Human Services COVID-19 testing commander Jeroen Weimar said.
‘It is that limited amount of contact, relatively infrequent contact between these five households that has now meant that we have 34 people in five houses experiencing or living with a very real threat of the coronavirus.’
The cluster, which has impacted the five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, first emerged on September 4.
Cases in the southeast have now spread to Dandenong Police Station and a number of industrial work sites.
Premier Daniel Andrews on Friday said the actions of the family’s involved in the cluster is ‘disappointing’.
The cluster which has impacted the five households in Hallam, Clyde, Narre Warren South and Cranbourne North, first emerged on September 4
‘Five kilometres is one thing and visiting others is the real issue here.’ he said.
‘The rules are in place for a reason and anyone who undermines this, undermines the entire strategy and it means the rules will be on for longer.’
But the Victorian leader ruled out fines for the group, telling reporters it may discourage others from being completely honest with contact tracers.
‘I know many Victorians, when you see examples of people not following the rules, that’s disappointing, it makes you angry,’ Mr Andrews said.
‘You need to look at the bigger picture here.
‘We don’t want a situation where people don’t have a sense of confidence and indeed, you know, the sense they’re obliged to tell us the full story as quickly as possible. That’s what we need.’
The success of Melbourne’s ongoing lockdown could be at risk with a new cluster in the southeast of the city. Pictured: A coronavirus testing centre in Cranbourne on September 17
The Casey and Dandenong cluster is testing the capacity of COVID-detectives. Pictured: Heathworkers are seen at a coronavirus testing centre in Cranbourne on September 17
A health worker is pictured approaching a vehicle at a COVID-19 testing centre in Cranbourne on September 17
Despite the new cluster, Victoria’s overall case numbers are continuing to decline.
There were 45 new cases on Friday bringing the total number of infections above 20,000.
However the number of active cases has fallen to 920.
Sadly, another five deaths today takes Victoria’s death toll to 750.
With contact tracers ‘painstakingly’ working around the clock to slow the spread of the virus and bringing the city out of lockdown, the Victorian government is set to introduce a controversial new policy that will see retired cops re-enlisted in the force.
The Department of Justice and Community Safety and the Department of Health and Human Services is behind the push that will see former cops given paid training before being assigned specific COVID-19 roles including, industry enforcement, testing support, door-knocking and the airport patrol.
A heavy Police presence is seen in Dandenong following an anti-lockdown protest on August 28
A man with a dog is seen being questioned by two police officers in the Dandenong area
But not everyone is in favour of the move to bring back veteran police.
‘Police veterans have a real contribution to make to the ongoing safety of the community but their use to issue infringements, detain people and conduct checks on private property is entirely inappropriate,’ Opposition Police & Community Safety spokesman David Southwick told the Herald Sun.
Ivan Ray, who served in the Victorian Police Force for over three decades said it’s a recipe for disaster for the veterans.
‘It’s effectively a health department police force, and we know the Health Department is no good at enforcement, we saw that in the hotel quarantine operation,’ Mr Ray said.
‘Veterans can play a part and they can support policing, but it has to be by the police department,’ he said.
Health authorities are urging anyone in the southeast of Melbourne to diligently monitor their health and immediately get tested if feeling unwell.
Health authorities are urging anyone in the southeast of Melbourne to diligently monitor their health and immediately get tested if feeling unwell
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Matilda’s fans fuming after news the Australian soccer team’s kit is not available in women’s sizes
Soccer fans have been told they won’t be able to buy jerseys to support the National Women’s soccer team in women’s sizes.
Nike and the Football Federation of Australia released the country’s official home and away kit on Thursday for the Socceroos and the Matildas.
But when fans asked where they could purchase the women’s sizing for the new ‘away’ gear they were told it didn’t exist.
This is despite the new jerseys being modelled on female players including Matildas defender Ellie Carpenter.
Female soccer fans have been told they will have to purchase jerseys to support the National Women’s soccer team in men’s sizes. This is despite the new jerseys being modelled on female players including Matildas captain Sam Kerr (left) and Ellie Carpenter (right)
Pictured: Ellie Carpenter takes a fall during a match against Chile in Adelaide November 2019
Instead, they were told they could wait two years for new gear to be released.
‘We apologise for any inconvenience caused and can assure supporters that this will be rectified for the next kit release due in 2022,’ the Maltildas official Twitter account wrote.
The merchandise gaffe sent social media including meltdown, with high profile sporting women among those questioning the oversight.
Matildas star Elise Kellond-Knight said it was ‘a fairly significant problem’ along with an embarassed monkey emoji.
Sydney FC player and Greater Western Sydney AFL women’s player Ellie Brush wholeheartedly agreed.
‘Yep. Wtf. (What the f***)’ she wrote.
Female soccer fans have been told to wait two years until they can purchase female sizes in the new national soccer jerseys for the Matildas
Matildas star Elise Kellond-Knight said it was ‘a fairly significant problem’ along with an embarassed monkey emoji
Hundreds of angry fans have critcised the decision, with many arguing a two year wait is simply unacceptable.
‘You seriously can’t make this up. Australia’s National Women’s Football Team yet you can only get shirts in men’s sizes. You’re joking right?’ one fan said.
‘Waiting a full two years is totally unacceptable for a mistake that shouldn’t have happened to begin with,’ another said.
The new team uniforms were made with 100 per cent recycled polyester from plastic bottles.
Both designs feature a modern take on the 2004 Socceroos kit, with the ‘home’ jersey featuring the classic gold jersey, and the away styled in a deep obsidian.
As part of the campaign launch Matildas Captain Sam Kerr described her excitement at donning the new uniforms.
As part of the campaign launch Matildas Captain Sam Kerr (pictured with with partner Nikki Stanton) described her excitement at donning the new uniforms
‘It’s an honour to play in green and gold and we can’t wait to get back on the pitch as a team,’ she said.
‘The next few years are so important for Australian women’s football, and we intend to do everyone proud in the lead up to a huge 2023.’
The new uniforms were released ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and the AFC Women’s Asia Cup in 2022.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Nike and the Football Federation of Australia for comment.
Sam Kerr of the Matildas reacts after missing a shot at goal during the Women’s International friendly soccer match between the Australia and Chile at Bankwest Stadium in November 2019
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