CANBERRA, AAP – Australia’s unemployment rate has been tipped to show signs of improvement early next year, following a recent shock rise.
October saw the country’s jobless rate rise from 4.6 to 5.2 per cent, with 46,300 jobs lost during the month.
That’s compared with a loss of 146,000 and 141,000 jobs in August and September respectively.
The period coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown still in effect in Victoria, NSW and the ACT.
Despite the rise, economists have forecast employment levels will increase as more virus restrictions ease across the country.
Westpac analyst Elliot Clarke said participation rate trends were looking positive.
“Participation in the labour force rose 0.13 percentage points in the month, signalling confidence that employment opportunities will increase as the recovery takes hold,” he said.
“By the end of the first quarter, (unemployment) is expected to be well on its way to a sub-four per cent figure come December 2022, a level consistent with full employment.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned of potential economic uncertainty for global markets in coming months.
While Mr Morrison indicated future unemployment figures would be more positive, there would be economic challenges.
“Of course there is uncertainty ahead when it comes to the global economy and what we’re seeing with inflation and supply chain pressures,” he told Melbourne’s 3AW on Friday.
“The economic uncertainty that is going to come with the post-pandemic period is very real.”
It coincides with inflation levels in the United States reaching its highest levels in three decades.
However, Mr Morrison said there was unlikely to be a direct knock-on effect to Australian markets.
“The changes of what’s happening in the global economy means an environment in which economic management in Australia’s going to be more important than ever,” he said.
“We’ve done extremely well through the pandemic to get to where we are.”
While the jobless rate increased during the past month, multiple industries have experienced labour shortages following the easing of lockdowns.
Skilled workers, who are expected to help fill some of the shortages, are not expected to be allowed to fly into the country until later this year, under the reopening plan of international borders.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the shortage combined with the unemployment rate was a “double whammy”.
“This is not a recovery for everyone,” Dr Chalmers told Sky News.
“We all want to see the job market get better, but for a couple of hundred of thousands in Australia in the last few months alone, the reality is very different.”