Sydney, Australia, Jun 18 (efe-epa).- The unemployment rate in Australia reached 7.1 percent in May and stood at the worst level in more than 15 years in this country, which is heading for its first recession in almost three decades due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to official data published Thursday.
“The fall in employment (in May) close to a quarter of a million adds to the 600,000 (new unemployed) in April, which totals a fall of 835,000 people (who have lost their jobs) since March,” he said in a statement. Bjorn Jarvis, senior representative of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, calculating the jobs that have been lost since the start of the pandemic.
Unemployment figures have increased markedly since March, when Australia closed its borders and ordered the closure of nonessential businesses to curb the spread of the virus, which has infected 7,370 people in the country, including 102 dead.
“In two months, the percentage of people aged 15 and over employed in Australia decreased from around 62.5 percent to around 58.7 percent,” Jarvis said, adding that women had been more affected by the crisis than men and that younger people had found it harder to keep their jobs.
He said that about “2.3 million people – around 1 in 5 employed people – were affected by either job loss between April and May or had less hours than usual for economic reasons in May.”
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in commenting on these figures that “these are dark times” and stressed that his government “will not rest and will work on the biggest economic challenges the country has seen.”
The Australian government has committed aid funds of up to A $ 259 billion ($ 178 billion or € 158 billion), equivalent to 13.3 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
By 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Australia estimates that GDP will drop by 6% and the unemployment rate may reach 10 percent in his country, which had registered almost 30 consecutive years of economic growth. EFE-EPA