Job losses have affected an additional 200,000 Australians over the past quarter despite the flat economic growth figures released this week.

11.3% of Australians point to a member of their household losing their job over the past three months, up from 9.7% in the previous reporting period – an increase of 1.6%.

CoreData research reveals 1.43 million people were directly impacted between mid-February and mid-May by a member of their household losing their job; this is up on the 1.23 million who were affected during the previous corresponding period.

With Australia technically dodging a recession in the last quarter (January to March) the increased velocity of those affected by job loss suggests that while companies may be reporting flat to marginal growth, a proportion of this it seems has come at a cost to many Australian families.

Of course a proportion of those who have lost their job would have found a new role shortly thereafter, however there has clearly been an increase in the numbers of people looking to the state for assistance.

Back in April Centrelink hired 1,000 additional staff to cope with the deluge of claims and enquiries from recently out of work individuals.

Yet official unemployment rates in Australia were reported to have fallen to 5.4% in April, down from 5.7% in March, however the 0.3% drop was dismissed by many economists and commentators as a statistical blip.

It seems there is a growing gap between what the Government is officially reporting and what is happening in the economy.

Despite this Australia is still faring better than many of its Northern Hemisphere counterparts. US unemployment currently sits at 8.9% but is expected to rise.

Unemployment in the 16-member euro region increased to 9.2% this month up from 8.9% in March – its highest level since September 1999.

Meanwhile unemployment in the UK has risen steadily over the past year and now stands at 7.1% as at the end of March (the last reported instance). This is up 0.8% over the quarter and 1.8% on last year.

Yes many Australians have a little extra cash in hand courtesy of the various Government stimulus packages, yet a flat-growth economy is masking the fact that many companies are rationalising their human capital.

For those companies that may have gone through no or limited retrenchments other activities are prevalent yet are overlooked in much of the official data.

For example new hires may be slow or non existent, groups may have moved to an eight or nine day fortnight or salaries could be frozen, among other strategies to adjust to slower growth.


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