May 5, 2020 / 1:44 AM / 23 days ago

Australia lost almost a million jobs since mid-March - ABS

SYDNEY, May 5 (Reuters) - Australia may have lost almost a million jobs between mid-March and mid-April as large chunks of the economy shut down in the fight against the coronavirus, foreshadowing a steep spike in the unemployment rate.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics out on Tuesday showed jobs recorded by the Australian Taxation Office payrolls system fell 7.5% between the week ended March 14 and that ended April 18, implying a drop of around 975,000.

There had been just over 13 million people counted as employed in early March before the strict lockdowns came into effect. At that time, the jobless rate had been steady at 5.2% but is expected to rise toward 10% by June.

Total wages paid by businesses also fell 8.2% in the period to mid-April, pointing to a large decline in household incomes and spending power. (Reporting by Wayne Cole; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

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