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‘These numbers are bad news’: Unemployment hits 19-year high

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Australia’s unemployment rate climbed to 7.1% in May – the highest level it has been in 19 years – but the figure would have hit 11% if you included everyone who was looking for work but has simply given up.

About 235,000 jobs were shed in May, taking the total number of jobs lost to the Coronavirus to roughly 850,000.

AMP Capital Chief Economist Dr Shane Oliver says the numbers are devastating for the Australians who have been affected.

“These numbers are bad news,” Dr Oliver tells Money News host Brooke Corte.

“If we didn’t have JobKeeper holding up the employment numbers, we would probably have unemployment up around 14% which would put us at the worst unemployment rate since 1935,

“They are pretty horrendous numbers,”

While the headline figure makes for sobering reading, Dr Oliver says there is a sliver of good news hidden in the mix.

“These numbers relate to the first half of May, but in the second half of May we’ve seen a big reopening of the economy,

“If you look around you’ll see more traffic on the roads, more people in the shops, it’s not back to normal but it’s heading in the right direction and it’s bringing back jobs with it,

“Hopefully, we’ve seen the worst in terms of employment.”

Click play to hear the full interview between Brooke Corte and Dr Shane Oliver: