Unemployment figures drop again as Australia's economy recovery continues

Australia's COVID-19 recovery appears to be continuing

Unemployment figures drop again as Australia's economy recovery continues

New unemployment figures released today show another drop in the number of people out of work.

The data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics revealed a 0.2% drop in the unemployment rate to 5.6%. That figure is just 0.4% higher than March 2020, the period preceding last year’s lockdown. The youth unemployment rate also decreased 1.1 pts to 11.8%

Between February and March this year, the number of people employed rose by 70,000 to reach 13,077,600, incidcating that Australia’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic is holding strong.

Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said the number of hours worked exceeded March 2020 for the first time during the COVID period. Employment rates among young people and women are also on the up.

“In March 2021, 62.6 per cent of people over 15 were employed, which was higher than March 2020 (62.4 per cent)," he said.

"The proportion of women employed was the highest it’s ever been (58.5 per cent), half a percentage point higher than in March 2020, while the proportion of men employed remained slightly lower than before the pandemic (66.8 per cent, compared with 67.0 per cent in March 2020).”

While today's news is a positive sign, the statistics covered the period before the end of the JobKeeper stimulus package, meaning the true unemployment levels may have now changed as a result.

Jarvis said the April labour force release, along with payroll jobs data, will show a truer picture of Australia's jobs market after JobKeeper.

On Twitter, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said today's statistics were a sign that the government's economic recovery plan is working

"The unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6%, with 70,700 jobs created in March - with around 80% of the jobs going to women & around half to young people," Frydenberg said. "The participation rate has also risen to a record high."

The participation rate jumped 0.2% to 66.1% over the month, with a higher increase for women compared to men. The participation rate among women rose by 0.4% to 61.8%.

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