Australian jobs decreased 1.1 between mid-June and mid-July, weekly data showed Tuesday, with the largest drop coming from the southeastern state of Victoria struggling with a fresh wave of coronavirus infections. The Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ABS) announced that overall payroll employment declined by 2.2% in Victoria alone, as new COVID-19 controls were reintroduced after a “alarming” spike in cases.
The state registered 384 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, as well as 532 cases on the previous day. Tuesday’s announcement is the first official data on the second wave impact of Australia’s A$ 2 trillion economy, with analysts expecting more job losses in the coming weeks. Australia has seen a increase in job growth over the last few months, as the authorities have successfully managed to monitor the spread of the virus and have started to reopen the economy. This helped to make up about 35 per cent of the payroll jobs lost due to coronavirus, according to Tuesday’s estimates.
The Reserve Bank of Australia ( RBA) responded by lowering its cash rate to a record low of 0.25% at the March emergency meeting and introducing a “unlimited” bond purchasing program. It has promised to hold interest rates at these levels until progress has been made in meeting its jobs and inflation goals. Wednesday’s data is likely to show the biggest fall in Australian consumer prices in the second quarter, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) forecast to close its first negative reading since 1998.