More than one in five Australian families are jobless, as the coronavirus pandemic slugs the economy.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics found there are 1.5 million families in which each member over 15 is unemployed, retired or otherwise not in the labour force.
An estimated 580,000 children up to 14 were living in jobless families in June.
And for couple families with dependants, unemployment has increased 53.5 per cent since 2019.
“With the disruption of COVID-19, there was an 11.5 per cent increase in families without an employed person in them between June 2019 and June 2020,” ABS labour statistics boss Bjorn Jarvis said.
“This was larger than the annual increases seen in earlier economic downturns in 1982 (9.9 per cent) and 1992 (nine per cent).”
Mr Jarvis said not all jobless families were searching for work, as they included retired couples and parents out of the workforce while caring for infants.
Australian Council of Social Service chief Cassandra Goldie said the figures underlined the need to help people with caring responsibilities, especially single parents, get into paid work.
“We need to get through this crisis without leaving people or their children behind and that means focusing on job creation, especially for people who are at risk of long-term unemployment,” she told AAP.
“There’s a great deal of need for increased staffing across the female-dominated care sector, including in aged care and child care, which the government should be focusing on in its recovery planning.”
As well, the government needed to permanently and adequately increase income support for people without paid work.
The ABS said overall there are 7.2 million families in Australia, up 1.1 million over the decade.