Flat White

The Bureau of Statistics bells the cat on lockdown and jobs

14 October 2021

1:01 PM

14 October 2021

1:01 PM

Today’s unemployment figures give a picture-perfect snapshot of the impact of lockdown on jobs.

The unemployment rate increased to 4.6%, the participation rate — the number of people in work or looking for work — decreased to 64.5% and employment overall decreased by 111,000.

The Bureau of Statistics has been remarkably frank for a government agency in its accompanying media release:

Extended lockdowns in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory have seen employment and hours worked both drop back below their pre-pandemic levels…

In September, there were large falls in employment in Victoria (123,000 people) and New South Wales (25,000 people, following the 173,000 decline in August). This was partly offset by a 31,000 increase in Queensland, as conditions there recovered from the lockdown in early August.

Nothing like belling the cat.

And look at that fall in employment in Victoria: 123,000 people. No wonder members of Daniel Andrews’ own party have been muttering about taking back control of the state from pin-up boy Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton and the premier himself has changed his rhetoric and continued to talk about opening up once vaccine levels are reached, despite today’s catastrophic 2,297 new cases of coronavirus.

The verdict is in. Lockdown is a jobs killer — and that’s only the beginning of the emotional and economic damage.

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