If you’re having trouble getting shifts at the moment, you’re not alone. Between March and April, underemployment rose to record high of 13.7%, or 1.8 million Aussies, as the coronavirus pandemic saw businesses shut around the country.
That’s according to the first batch of figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) since the nation entered lockdown.
“This is a tough day for Australia. A very tough day,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Thursday.
Around 900,000 Aussie part-time workers say they can’t get enough shifts, while a similar number of full-time workers say they’ve been wound back to part-time hours.
Meanwhile, almost 600,000 Aussies lost their jobs entirely in the same period. Of these, around 373,800 were part-time workers.
“Every one of them devastating for those Australians, for their families, for their communities,” Morrison added.
But most of these people aren’t considered to be unemployed, because they’re not necessarily able to look for work at the moment.
“The large drop in employment did not translate into a similar sized rise in the number of unemployed people because around 489,800 people left the labour force,” Bjorn Jarvis, head of labour statistics at the ABS, said.
“This means there was a high number of people without a job who didn’t or couldn’t actively look for work or weren’t available for work.”
Meanwhile the government has revealed that 1.6 million Aussies are on the JobSeeker payment (formerly known as Newstart), while six million have signed up for JobKeeper, which is paid to businesses to keep their employees in work.
Both of these payments are set to be wound back by September.Image: AAP / Dan Peled