Australia’s unemployment rate has jumped from 5.2 per cent to 6.2 per cent, despite the number of jobs falling by almost 600,000 in the last month.
The unemployment rate is now at its highest level since July 2015, however experts had been predicting it would hit 8 per cent in April.
The figures were collated between mid-March and mid-April, taking into account the massive shutdown of the Australian economy.
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Employment fell by 594,300, but the number of people classified as unemployed only increased by 104,500, with the Federal Government’s JobKeeper program masking the full impact.
The number of full-time jobs fell by 220,500 while part-time employment plummeted by 373,800.
Youth unemployment has also soared, jumping to 13.8 per cent.
The number of people looking for work fell sharply, with the participation rate falling 2.4 per cent to 63.5 per cent.
Underemployment has also soared to 13.7 per cent, up from 8.8 per cent while the total number of hours worked dropped by 9.2 per cent.
According to the ABS, around 2.7 million Australians either left their job or had their hours reduced.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it is a “very tough day” for Australia.
“Almost 600,000 jobs have been lost, every one of them devastating for those Australians, for their families, for their communities. Terribly shocking, although not unanticipated,” Mr Morrison said.
“In the months ahead we can brace ourselves and must brace ourselves for further hard news for Australians to take, but it’s important on a day like today that we remember to support each other again, but also to seek to take part and to encourage each other in hope.
“Almost 600 thousand Australians losing work can disappoint that hope, it can break hearts but it is important as a country that we stand firm and we stand together.”
Mr Morrison says the JobKeeper program and increased JobSeeker payments is what is holding the country up.
The Government has also revealed that 6 million Australians are now being covered by the JobKeeper program, while 1.6 million people are receiving JobSeeker and Youth Allowance.
Tasmania saw the biggest jump in its unemployment rate, rising from 4.9 per cent to 6.2 per cent.
This was followed by Queensland which went from 5.7 per cent to 6.8 per cent, while the unemployment rate in New South Wales rose from 4.9 per cent to 6 per cent.
Employment in New South Wales fell by 221,400, while Queensland saw a drop of 129,600, followed by Victoria with a fall of 127,1000.