Australian unemployment rate rises to 6.9pc amid Victoria state lockdown

CANBERRA (XINHUA) – Australia’s unemployment rate has increased slightly due to a strict COVID-19 lockdown imposed in the nation’s second-most populous state.

According to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) yesterday, the official unemployment rate was 6.9 per cent in September, up from 6.8 per cent in August but still well below July’s 22-year high of 7.5 per cent.

The number of employed Australians fell by 29,500 between August and September. Head Labour Statistics at the ABS Bjorn Jarvis said the September data provides further insights into the labour market impacts from the Stage 4 restrictions in Victoria, the hardest-hit state by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, which has been under lockdown in recent months because of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

“Employment in Victoria decreased by 36,000, following a fall of 37,000 in August. Hours worked in the state fell by a further 2.1 per cent, following the 4.6 per cent fall in August,” Jarvis said in the media release yesterday.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the figures would have shown employment growth if not for the setback in Victoria.