Unemployment in Australia: A True Test of the Working Class’s Strength and Resilience

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In October, Australia’s unemployment rate fell as the labour market added jobs and people working more hours—showing how tough the economy is despite record-high interest rates set by the Reserve Bank.

The economy’s jobless rate was 3.4% last month, the same as the half-century low reached in July, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday.

Employers added approximately 32,000 jobs in the past month, with slightly more than half being full-time. The number of hours worked rose 2.3% to 1,864 million. The participation rate gauges how many people are looking for work.

“Though the participation rate—at 66.5 per cent in September 2020—was 0.2 percentage points lower than the record high of 66.7 per cent set in June 2022, it was still 0.7 percentage points higher than before the pandemic began,” said Bjorn Jarvis, a senior ABS official.

According to the ABS, 66,000 people worked reduced hours in September due to bad weather. However, this number increased to 100,000 by October in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania due to more flood events.

The figures showed that while the labour market is tight, there are clear signs of weakness. The quarterly underemployment rate increased to 9.2 per cent in September as many people continued to look for more work.

“But despite this, underemployment remains at a historically low level. This is encouraging as it means there are opportunities to increase hours for existing workers and to access part-time work for those looking for additional employment,” Jarvis said.

These figures show that while the economy may be substantial, it tests the working class’s strength and resilience to make it through these challenging times. Australia has one of the most robust job markets in the world, but even it is not immune to the pandemic. However, knowing that unemployment is at a historic low is encouraging and provides hope for those looking for work.

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