— Finance

JobKeeper to end as unemployment rate falls to 5.8 per cent in February

Scott Morrison has declared Australia now has more jobs than it had before the COVID-19 pandemic in a “remarkable” economic fightback. The unemployment rate plunged from 6.4 percent to 5.8 percent in February, with the economy adding a further 88,700 jobs.

The result defied economists’ expectations, with many predicting the number of jobs would decline as companies prepared for the removal of the JobKeeper wage subsidy.“There are more jobs in the Australian economy than there were before the pandemic. That is something that is truly remarkable and is a great credit to every Australian who hung in there, every Australian business who kept people in jobs,’’ the Prime Minister said.

“More jobs now than when the recession began.

“These jobs numbers are a real shot in the arm, and that will only boost us as we go into the next phase, as we get to the end of this month, and Australia will continue to lead the world out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recession it created.” Employment increased to 13,006,900 and is now higher than its pre-COVID peak of 13,003,900 last year. However, the number of people who are employed but want more hours continues to be a problem. Underemployment lifted to 8.5 percent in February, from 8.1 percent.

In a promising sign, however, full-time employment increased by 89,100.

The Prime Minister said that underlined that despite the turnaround, there was more work to be done. “There are more hours still needed. There is still a lot more to do, particularly for young people, and even though the youth unemployment rate has pleasingly fallen, there is still a distance to travel,’’ he said.

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