June 18, 2020 / 2:40 AM / 17 days ago

Australia's job losses from coronavirus pandemic are devastating, PM says

SYDNEY, June 18 (Reuters) - The massive blow to Australia’s employment sector from COVID-19 pandemic-driven lockdowns is “devastating”, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday after data showed the jobless rate surged to a 19-year high.

“These are our dark times, but I can see that ray of light, and I’m sure Australians can see that,” he told reporters in Canberra.

Official data out earlier showed nearly a quarter of a million people lost their jobs in May, sending the unemployment rate to 7.1%, the highest since October 2001.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Kim Coghill

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