Australia unemployment lowest in 11 months

Data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday showed that the country’s unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since restrictions were introduced 11 months earlier to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The ABS data showed that unemployment was 5.8 per cent in February, down from 6.3 per cent in January, reports Xinhua news agency.

It is the lowest figure in the past 11 months when much of the country was shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The total number of employed Australians rose past 13 million and was only 1,800 lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that the figures were a “great credit” to the resilience of Australians.

“It has been an extraordinary year in Australia’s fightback in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said in Canberra.

“In less than 12 months from when the recession began, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, there are now more jobs in the Australian economy than there were before the pandemic.”

Female full-time employment was 1.8 per cent higher than in March 2020 while for males it was 0.8 per cent lower.

Youth unemployment fell by 1.1 per cent between January and February but remained 0.5 per cent higher than 12 months earlier.

The underemployment rate, which measures people who are employed but want more hours, rose from 8.1 to 8.5 per cent.

However, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said that the road ahead could still be bumpy.

“We know that JobKeeper is coming off at the end of March,” he said. “It will be challenging and the economy will continue to go through the transition.”

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