June 30, 2020 / 1:54 AM / 10 days ago

Australian employment recovering gradually from virus shock

SYDNEY, June 30 (Reuters) - Australian employment is continuing to pick up gradually after the huge losses caused by coronavirus lockdowns, recovering around 30% of the jobs initially shed, data showed on Tuesday.

The Australian Bureau of statistics said total payroll jobs increased 1.0% between mid-May and mid-June, though they were still down 6.4% on their level in mid-March before the lockdowns started to take effect.

“The recovery in payroll jobs between mid-April and mid-June represents around 30% of the jobs initially lost,” said ABS head of labour statistics Bjorn Jarvis.

“Between mid-May and mid-June, the easing of restrictions saw payroll jobs increasing faster for the under 20s, up by 4.1%.”

Between the week ended June 6 and the week to June 13, payroll jobs were unchanged, compared to a rise of 0.2% the previous week. Total wages paid rose by 0.2% in the week, after a 0.3% increase the week before.

There had been just over 13 million people counted as employed in early March before the lockdowns, while the jobless rate had been steady at 5.2%. Unemployment rose to 7.1% in May, though that was held down by a sharp rise in the number of people who stopped looking for work. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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