SYDNEY (REUTERS) – Australian job advertisements experienced the biggest decline in more than a decade in March amid social rules that alienated and shut down businesses to fight the corona virus.
Figures on Tuesday (April 7) from Australia and the New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) provide impending pain in the labor market because all parts of the economy are closed.
Total job advertisements fell 10.3 percent in March, the sharpest decline since January 2009 when the global financial crisis raged. That made advertising an average of 142,504 in March, down sharply 18.2 percent in the same month last year.
Economists worry unemployment could surge towards 10 percent in the coming months, a height not seen since the last major recession in Australia in the early 1990s. The unemployment rate stood at 5.1 percent in February before the close of closing made many people lose their jobs.
The only saving grace is the government’s plan to subsidize “JobKeeper” A $ 130 billion (S $ 113.76 billion), which could blunt the worst of the fall.
“Before the announcement of JobKeeper payments, we estimate that more than 1.1 million workers could lose their jobs and the unemployment rate could rise to a peak of 13 percent,” said ANZ senior economist Catherine Birch.
“However, we think that JobKeeper payments will get more workers employed and reduce the peak of unemployment – the economic version of the ‘smoothing curve’.”
The announcement of the scheme seems to have lightened the public mood just a little last week. A separate survey from ANZ and Roy Morgan showed consumer sentiment soared 10.1 percent, following a two-week drastic decline.
“Consumers can hardly be said to be cheerful or ready to spend,” said ANZ’s Australian economic head, David Plank. “But glad to comment on better news.”
The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has entered the fray by cutting interest rates to a record low of 0.25 percent, while launching a massive bond purchase program to protect the economy from the effects of the pandemic.
The central bank holds its April policy meeting on Tuesday and is widely expected to stand for the moment as it measures the effects of the latest easing measures.
The impact of increasingly widespread travel restrictions was shown in official data for international trade on Tuesday, with exports and imports falling sharply in February.
As a result, Australia’s trade balance narrowed to A $ 4.36 billion, with revenue from tourism down 15 percent in February to a decline of A $ 1 billion in just two months.
On the other side of the ledger, the debit from tourism when Australians go abroad is hardly affected in February. That is likely to have changed significantly in March when the border was closed, offsetting some obstacles from tourist exports.
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