CANBERRA, AAP – Reserve Bank governor Philip Lowe has warned the unemployment rate will increase in coming months as the economy takes a hit from COVID-19 lockdowns.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics will release its weekly payroll jobs report on Thursday, which will give a guide to the impact so far of having half the population under coronavirus restrictions.
The report will cover the period to August 14. The full labour force report for August is due next Thursday.
Economists expect the economy could contract by as much as four per cent in the September quarter and see the unemployment rate rise back above five per cent.
In July the jobless rate hit a 13-year low of 4.6 per cent.
Earlier this week, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told an online forum he was confident unemployment would remain relatively low in the face of this economic shock.
Mr Frydenberg said people have got back into work very quickly when states have reopened after lockdowns.
He pointed to the July labour force figures which featured a spike in hours worked in Victoria after the state reopened from its previous lockdown.
Dr Lowe also expects the economy to resume its recovery in the December quarter, calling the impact of having lockdowns in NSW, Victoria and the ACT temporary.
Still, figures on Wednesday showed demand for workers is rapidly easing.
Preliminary figures from the National Skills Commission showed job advertisements posted on the internet fell by a further 5.6 per cent in August, the third consecutive monthly decline.
Jobs ads had reached a 12-year high in May.