Australia’s unemployment rate fell slightly to 6.8 per cent in August, spurring hopes that the worst of a coronavirus-fuelled recession may have passed.
The country’s statistical agency said Thursday that unemployment had fallen 0.7 points from the 7.5-per cent rate posted in July, with the economy adding 111,000 more jobs.
Australia is experiencing its first recession in almost 30 years, prompting the government and central bank to embark on a vast stimulus spending programme to avert a full-blown depression.
Around a million people have lost their jobs and many more have been forced to take pay cuts or seen hours slashed.
Thursday’s figures smashed economists’ forecasts of a rise in the unemployment rate to around 8 per cent.
But beyond the headline figure — which is seasonally adjusted — there was some cause for concern.
The number of people present in the job market, hours worked and underemployment remained largely unchanged — pointing to an economy still in serious pain.