Insights

What pandemic? Unemployment is now below pre-COVID levels at 5.1%

New figures released today show unemployment has fallen for the seventh consecutive month.
The post What pandemic? Unemployment is now below pre-COVID levels at 5.1% appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia. –

Cast your mind back to early 2020 (if you can bear it).

In the weeks following the pandemic outbreak, there were grave fears about unemployment in Australia. With a severe (albeit in hindsight, short-lived) recession looming, economic commentators were warning us to prepare for unemployment levels not seen in decades.

What was even scarier was the prospect of a ‘scarred labour market’ – the result of sustained low job levels pushing retrenched workers into permanent retirement.

Well, those fears appear to be well and truly behind us, judging by the latest labour and employment figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released this morning. The figures are for the month of May and make for some encouraging reading.

According to the ABS, the unemployment rate fell substantially over May, dropping from April’s 5.5% to 5.1% for the month. That makes May the seventh consecutive month of falling unemployment.

May’s numbers were the result of employment increasing by 115,000 jobs. This puts Australian employment 1% higher than where it was before the start of the pandemic.

Female jobs increased by 69,000 over the month and are now 1.6% above where they were at the start of the pandemic. That’s looking good against an 0.5% increase in jobs for men at 46,000.

Economy goes full steam ahead on jobs

The head of labour statistics at the ABS, Bjorn Jarvis, said:

The increase in female employment in May means that a higher percentage of women were in paid work than ever before – 58.8 per cent, 0.7 percentage points higher than the start of the pandemic. The difference was even greater for women aged 15 to 64, whose employment-to-population ratio in May was 1.5 percentage points above March 2020.

Hours worked also rose over May, increasing by 1.4%. This means that the total hours worked was 2.9% higher than at the start of the pandemic.

Labour force participation is also on the up, rising 0.3% to 66.2%, just a whisker below its all-time high of 66.3%, which we saw in March 2021.

Underemployment (people who are working but want to work more) decreased 0.3% to 7.4%, the lowest level since 2014. It’s also 1.4% below where it was at the start of the pandemic.

The post What pandemic? Unemployment is now below pre-COVID levels at 5.1% appeared first on The Motley Fool Australia.

Wondering where you should invest $1,000 right now?

When investing expert Scott Phillips has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the flagship Motley Fool Share Advisor newsletter he has run for more than eight years has provided thousands of paying members with stock picks that have doubled, tripled or even more.*

Scott just revealed what he believes could be the five best ASX stocks for investors to buy right now. These stocks are trading at near dirt-cheap prices and Scott thinks they could be great buys right now.

*Returns as of May 24th 2021

More reading

2 high quality ASX shares for retirees

Could investing in the ASX 300 be better than the ASX 200?

2 fantastic ASX 50 shares rated as buys

Investors warn ASX 200 boards to stamp out sexual harassment

New superannuation rules just passed the Senate. Here’s a breakdown

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

Trade The World Anywhere & Anytime!

Mobile app platform with over 50,000 global listed securities across 12 markets (over 70% global market capitalisation), right from your Android or iOS device.

Integrated with exclusive trading idea and investment analysis tools to help you find actionable insight on virtually every financial instrument across our 12 global markets, to help you optimise your trading strategies.

Refer Your Friends

Tell your friends about Monex and gift them FREE access to our trading tools.

We respect your privacy and will only send this one email notification to your friends. 

Share With Your Friends

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Monex Trading Tools Access and Usage Terms

The Monex Trading Tools (referred to as ‘tools’ hereafter) are available to you inside your client portal;


To activate access to the tools, you must have a verified and approved trading account and have made a deposit of at least AUD $1000.


An active and funded account with a positive trading balance is required to continue to have access to the tools;


Although the tools are available to you indefinitely, Monex Securities may at it’s discretion disable access to the tools in the future;


Monex securities reserves the right to change these terms and conditions from time to time, as it sees fit, without notice.

Important Notice
iOS & Android App - 12 International Markets & Over 70% Global Market Cap. $0 Brokerage On US Trades. Click Here!