No extension to JobSeeker supplement despite almost one million jobs lost

New figures show almost one million Australians have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 crisis but the Government is ruling out extending the increased JobSeeker payment.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of jobs fell by 7.5 per cent from March 14 to April 18, while total wages fell by 8.2 per cent.

The figures are based on payroll data supplied to the Australian Tax Office.


The hospitality industry continues to be hit the hardest with a third of jobs in the accommodation and food services sector lost.

The number of jobs in arts and recreation services has fallen by 27 per cent.

Jobs in the rental, hiring and real estate sector are down more than 13 per cent, mining has lost 11 per cent of jobs, while retail jobs are down 10.6 per cent.

Hospitality and the arts have also seen the biggest drop in wages, falling 30.3 per cent and 17.3 per cent respectively.

Victoria has seen the biggest decrease in jobs, falling by 8.6 per cent while employment in Tasmania has fallen 8 per cent.

The latest figures follow earlier estimates by Treasury that unemployment across the country will hit 10 per cent by June.

But Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has dashed hopes that the JobSeeker supplement will be extended.

Recipients of JobSeeker are receiving an extra $550 dollars a fortnight, double the usual maximum payment.

That is due to end on September 24 despite growing calls for a permanent increase to the payment.

“We have been very clear that the measures we have announced are temporary, targeted, they are proportionate and we have used existing systems, these were the principles that we adopted,” Mr Frydenberg told the National Press Club on Tuesday.

“That ABS data you referred to is pretty consistent with where Treasury’s forecasts are for unemployment to hit 10 per cent in the June quarter to rise from that 5.1 per cent we saw in February and 5.2 per cent we saw in March.

“But we are very conscious that the way to get people off the unemployment benefits is to get them back into the workforce, to encourage economic activity, and that’s why the lifting of the restrictions is so important.

“The quicker we lift those restrictions, the more economic activity we generate.”

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