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Unemployment falls, job ads surge as recovery continues

  • April 09 2021
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Unemployment falls, job ads surge as recovery continues

By Cameron Micallef
April 09 2021

Australia’s unemployment rate has hit a one-year low, while the number of businesses looking for staff has hit a 12-year high, new research has revealed.

Unemployment falls

Unemployment falls, job ads surge as recovery continues

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  • April 09 2021
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Australia’s unemployment rate has hit a one-year low, while the number of businesses looking for staff has hit a 12-year high, new research has revealed.

Unemployment falls

Roy Morgan’s latest employment figures show that 1.64 million Australians remain unemployed in March, down 291,000, leaving the unemployment rate at 11.4 per cent.

While remaining 5 per cent higher than the official unemployment rate, Roy Morgan pointed to 2.11 million underemployed Aussies as well as the 127,000 employees who worked zero hours for ‘economic reasons’ in March. 

Roy Morgan’s CEO, Michele Levine, said the March 2021 estimates show that there are now far more unemployed or underemployed Aussies who are looking for work even though employment levels are essentially back to where they were pre-COVID.

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“The difference to a year ago is an extra 550,000 Australians either unemployed or underemployed. In March 2021, there were 2.73 million Australians either unemployed or underemployed compared to 2.16 million (15.6 per cent) in early March 2020,” she said.

However, despite a falling unemployment rate, Ms Levine warned of the dangers of JobKeeper ending. 

“The ending of the JobKeeper wage subsidy at the end of March adds an extra ‘wrinkle’ to assessing the jobs market as an estimated 1.1 million Australians were receiving the subsidy during the March quarter 2021 and up to 150,000 may lose their jobs in the coming weeks and months,” Ms Levine said, quoting Dr. Steven Kennedy of the Australian Treasury.

“The good news for those looking for work is that Australian businesses are more confident than they’ve been for more than seven years since early 2014,” she continued.

While the number of Aussies unemployed continues to fall, the number of businesses that need staff continues to rise with job ads hitting a 12-year high, according to separate research released by ANZ.

ANZ Australian job ads rose 7.4 per cent in March, following an upwardly revised 8.8 per cent jump in February. Job ads are now at the highest level since November 2008.

The growth in job ads is similar to job vacancy data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which recorded a 13.7 per cent increase in February, to be 26.8 per cent higher than pre-COVID-19 levels.

However, like Ms Levine, ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch warned of a temporary rise in unemployment with government benefits ending, before falling in the second half of the year. 

“Six months ago, our view was that ANZ Job Ads would need to sustain levels materially higher than pre-pandemic in order to entrench the labour market recovery. ANZ Job Ads has done better than that, now 23 per cent above its pre-COVID level and at a 12-year high,” Ms Birch said. 

“Inevitably though, there will be some people who struggle to find work post-JobKeeper, ending up unemployed and on the lower JobSeeker payment. Workers in exposed industries, who may not have the skills or experience to work in other growing industries, low to middle-income workers and young people will be most at risk.” 

Unemployment falls, job ads surge as recovery continues
Unemployment falls
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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