The employment series data from Roy Morgan found that 14.5 per cent of the workforce was unemployed, with 2.05 million Australians looking for work.
The figure is 42,000 fewer than May; however, the slight improvement was largely cancelled out by the rise in underemployment, which is now at 10 per cent of the workforce (1.41 million), and up 37,000 on a month ago.
Compared to early March before the COVID-19 lockdowns, Roy Morgan said there are an additional 1.03 million Australians now unemployed (up by 7.2 percentage points).
Roy Morgan’s unemployment figure of 14.5 per cent is double the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimate for May 2020 of 7.1 per cent.
However, it noted that the ABS figure for May estimated a large decline in the size of the workforce since March which they said was down 655,000, adding that if the ABS workforce estimate for May had matched that in March, the ABS unemployment figure would have been 11.5 per cent (1.58 million).
Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said life around Australia is slowly returning to a “new normal”; however, the re-imposition of restrictions in Melbourne shows COVID-19 still poses a significant and ongoing threat to lives and livelihoods.
“The small changes in unemployment and underemployment in June illustrate just how much new growth is required to provide jobs for the more than 1 million Australians now unemployed that were working prior to the COVID-19 shutdowns enforced in mid-March,” Ms Levine said.
“In addition, there has been sobering news over the last week as around 350 new cases of COVID-19 have been announced in Melbourne — an average of about 50 per day. This new spike has forced suburb-by-suburb lockdowns around Melbourne, and if new infections continue to roll in, there is a strong possibility the entire city may again be forced back onto stage 3 restrictions.
“The developing situation in Victoria demonstrates that while in recent weeks many have considered the worst of COVID-19 may already be over, there is always the chance the virus can pose a renewed threat that does more damage to lives and livelihoods and the economy more broadly.”