Graph Points to ‘Unprecedented’ Australian Job Collapse

May 7, 2020

Thousands of Aussies are out of work – now new data warns things are about to get much worse. And one group will suffer more than others.

Australia’s job market is in a precarious state. Now a new and terrifying graph is warning us we might be stuck with heavy unemployment for a long time.

In April, the number of job ads did something unprecedented. They fell by more than half.

Every month, ANZ bank counts up the number of job advertisements. It’s a useful way of seeing how the job market will be in a few months’ time – unemployment data is backward-looking but job advertisements tell us something about how many people will be in work in the future.

ANZ had never seen job ads collapse like this. The previous biggest fall in the series was 11.3 per cent in one month, in January 2009, amid the Global Financial Crisis. This is almost five times bigger. April was obviously a time of high uncertainty, and we can expect some bounce-back when lockdowns begin to ease. But job ads certainly won’t come back all at once.

For the growing group of Australians looking for a job this is awful. They are searching for something that isn’t available. The government recently renamed the unemployment payment from Newstart to JobSeeker, and that’s cruelly accurate, because lots of people will be seeking a job without getting a new start.

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