There were lots of numbers in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s economic and financial statement, but the one we should focus on is the forecast that unemployment will average about 9 per cent this financial year.
The government used to talk about “jobs, jobs, jobs”, but Mr Frydenberg is now warning of a “harsh reality” in which about 1.2 million people who want a job cannot find work. As he said on Thursday, these Australians are “mums and dads, sons and daughters”.
In fact, as the Treasury document makes clear, there are fewer fathers than the other three categories. “Women and young people have been particularly affected,” Treasury says, because the industries hardest hit by the crisis are accommodation and food services, arts and recreation services, and retail.
This is a shock Australians have not experienced since the recession of the 1990s. The Treasury warns: “Longer-lasting effects from economic scarring may drag on future activity, including as a result of persistently high unemployment.”