Unemployment rate falls to 6.8 per cent

Australia’s unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 6.8 per cent in August as another large jump in employment was reported with COVID-19 restrictions easing across most states.

The unemployment rate fell from a 22-year high of 7.5 per cent in July, but still stands well above the 5.1 per cent rate seen in February when the pandemic first hit Australia’s shores.

The number of people unemployed fell below one million after rising to a record high in July, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

The Reserve Bank and Treasury have both predicted the unemployment rate will rise to 10 per cent by the end of the year with a further 400,000 people joining the dole queue.

The number of people in employment rose 111,000, the third month of exceptionally strong increases as restrictions were unwound.

The number of full-time positions rose by 36,200, while part-time jobs increased by 74,800.

The participation rate of those people in work or seeking employment rose to 64.8 per cent from 64.7 per cent.  

Economists’ forecasts had centred on a fall of 35,000 jobs in the month with the unemployment rate ticking up to 7.7 per cent.

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