Effective unemployment in Australia to exceed 13% by end of September

People wearing face masks walk outside Flinders Street Station in Melbourne last month. (AP pic)

SYDNEY: Effective unemployment in Australia will climb above 13% by the end of September, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said on Sunday, as nearly half a million people lose their jobs due to a full lockdown of the country’s second-most populous city.

Releasing modelling from Australia’s Treasury Department, Frydenberg said effective unemployment totalled 9.9% at the end of July, down from the record high of 14% in April when large parts of the country’s economy were ordered to close to slow the spread of Covid-19.

But demonstrating the economic impact of Australia’s second wave of Covid-19 infections, Frydenberg said the number of people out of work will swell by 450,000 during August and September amid a lockdown of nearly five million people in Victoria state capital, Melbourne.

“We know the road to recovery will be bumpy as we have seen with the setback in Victoria, however, the jobs recovery across the rest of the country gives cause for optimism,” Frydenberg said in an emailed statement.

Once heralded as a global leader in combating Covid-19, Australia has seen a surge of new infections in the past month.

Desperate to contain the spread, Victoria state earlier this month imposed a nightly curfew across Melbourne, tightened restrictions on movement and ordered large parts of the state’s economy to close.

Australia has largely avoided the high casualty numbers of many other nations, it has recorded nearly 25,000 Covid-19 infections and 502 deaths.