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Labour force figures point to worsening unemployment

Release Date: 23/07/2020
Regional labour force data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggests unemployment in the region has not yet peaked, with figures showing a worsening trend.
The monthly figures for June show unemployment has risen from 10.1 to 11.1 per cent in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, and from 5.9 to 7.4 per cent across the remainder of the Hunter Valley, both significantly higher than the statewide rate of 6.9 per cent. Youth unemployment rates in both regional statistical areas remain alarmingly high, at 24.8 per cent and 15.9 per cent respectively.
“We had hoped that we had reached the bottom of the trough last month, so it is worrying to see unemployment continuing to worsen,” Hunter Business Chamber CEO Bob Hawes said.
“As the Treasurer pointed out in today’s economic statement, effective unemployment is estimated to be several percentage points more than the data is showing, so it points to a real crisis in our region.
“ABS figures show more than 40,000 jobs have been lost in the Hunter since the start of the pandemic, up from about 36,000 last month.
“The very high levels of youth unemployment are a major concern and highlight the need for the JobTrainer package to be extended to provide incentives for employers to take on new trainees and apprentices as well as subsidising existing placements.
“News of the extension of JobKeeper could not have come at a better time, with thousands of businesses in the Hunter relying on the subsidy to keep staff on their books and off the unemployment queue.
“The Business NSW Back on Track report, released earlier this week, shows businesses rate JobKeeper as the single most effective policy measure in helping them keep their doors open over the past four months.”

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