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Surprise fall in jobless rate as 111,000 people find work in August

There were huge falls in jobless rates in many areas. The Northern Territory’s jobless rate fell to 4.2 per cent from 7.5 per cent, in Western Australia it fell to 7 per cent from 8.3 per cent while in Queensland it went to 7.5 per cent from 8.8 per cent.

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In NSW, the nation’s biggest jobs market, the jobless rate dropped to 6.7 per cent from 7.2 per cent.

Analysts and the government had been expecting a spike in unemployment in Victoria due to its lockdown. But even there, the jobless rate only moved up to 7.1 per cent from 6.8 per cent.

The bureau’s head of labour statistics, Bjorn Jarvis, said there had not been a substantial change in the participation rate, which measures those in work or looking for it.

“The large increase in seasonally adjusted employment coincided with a large decrease in unemployment of 87,000 people, around 55,000 of whom were female,” he said.

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While jobs lifted in most areas, Victoria’s lockdown did have a major impact there with total employment down 42,400. It is just above the low point reached in May in the wake of the first coronavirus lockdown.

The bureau said nationally there were now 215,300 people who worked zero hours through August. This had been 766,900 in April.

Victoria, with 113,000 people on zero hours, accounted for more than half those who held a job but did not work through the month. Victoria’s zero hour workforce peaked in April at 229,800.

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