Unemployment rate falls as lockdowns end | The Canberra Times

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Treasurer Josh Frydenberg says the latest job figures are a clear indication of what will happen to the economy if lockdowns are eased, with unemployment falling sharply to 4.6 percent in November. This comes after peaking to 5.2 percent in October as half of the population was in lockdown in the fight against the coronavirus. The Australian Bureau of Statistics also said the number of employees rose by 366,100 in the month. “Today’s job numbers are the clearest indication of what happens when you relax restrictions,” Mr Frydenberg told reporters in Canberra as he handed over his budget mid-year. The review finds that the unemployment rate is now projected to fall to 4.5 percent in the June quarter next year and 4.25 percent 12 months after that. It also forecast economic growth of 4.5 percent in 2021 and 4.25 percent in 2022. While Mr Frydenberg admits uncertainties remain about the pandemic, he said Australia must learn to live with the virus. “We’re not going to see Omicron derail the recovery,” he said. Commenting on the latest jobs figures, ABS chief of labor statistics Bjorn Jarvis said most people remained attached to their jobs during the Delta lockdowns and to a greater degree than previously seen during the pandemic. “This attachment to a job meant that, once restrictions were eased, many people were able to return to work quickly,” he said. The easing of COVID-19 restrictions in NSW and Victoria had a major impact on the national figures, with employment in both states increasing by 180,000 people and 141,000 people between October and November. Earlier on Thursday, Reserve Bank of Australia governor Philip Lowe said he expected the unemployment rate to reach four percent by the end of 2023. dr. Lowe does believe that with the lifting of the COVID-19 lockdowns, spending will bounce back quickly, although he admits the outbreak of the Omicron variant carries a downside risk. Still, he expects positive momentum in the economy to continue throughout the summer, supported by Australia’s opening up, high vaccination rates, significant fiscal and monetary support and the strengthening of household and business balance sheets. But he reiterated that the RBA board would not raise the spot rate until actual inflation is sustainably within the target range of two to three percent, something it had previously not expected before 2024. that point. In our central scenario, the condition for a cash interest rate hike will not be met next year,” he told the CPA Australia Riverina Forum in Wagga Wagga NSW. “It will probably take some time for that condition to be met and the board is willing to be patient.” National Australia Bank economist Tapas Strickland noted that Governor Lowe again challenged financial markets’ expectations of a rate hike next year. “But interestingly, he made little mention of 2024, suggesting to us that the RBA now sees 2023 as more likely than before,” he said. Australian Associated Press


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