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Tasmanian jobs data reinforces need for new approach

  • Jobs data confirms massive decline in hours worked
  • Figures show women more affected than men by job losses
  • JobKeeper payments scheme must be extended

New figures showing a massive decline in the number of hours worked by Tasmanians underline the need for a strategic new approach to re-growing the economy.

Shadow Minister for Jobs Michelle O’Byrne said the latest jobs data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show underemployment has skyrocketed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The unemployment rate in Tasmania is forecast to exceed 12 per cent and 20,000 jobs have been lost across the state since mid-March,” Ms O’Byrne said.

“On top of this, we have figures today showing Tasmanians worked 1.1 million fewer hours in April, compared to March.

“We also know that women are doing it especially tough, with women’s unemployment increasing by more than men in the state’s Greater Hobart, West and North West regions.

“Women are also over-represented in jobs affected by the ongoing need for social distancing, such as retail and hospitality, which have a highly casualised workforce. So, these figures underline the need to ensure women are included in the economic restart plan.

“While the government’s infrastructure program is important and will help the recovery, these jobs are predominantly held by men.

“As we start easing back the pandemic restrictions, we need to take the opportunity to do things better and find ways to support women back into the workforce.

“We also can’t forget the numerous businesses that will not be helped by the partial reopening of the economy – businesses like those in the tourism and hospitality industries, where a 10-customer limit will fail to provide enough income to cover operational costs.

“These businesses will likely take the longest to recover from the pandemic restrictions and, ongoing support will be needed for many small businesses just to keep them afloat.

“With many of these businesses dependent upon JobKeeper payments, Labor again urges the Premier to lobby his federal Liberal colleagues to extend the JobKeeper scheme beyond September.”

“We need to give those industries and regions worst affected by COVID-19 time to recover so as many jobs as possible can be saved, and we need to rebuild our economy by delivering diversity and a sustainable recovery.”

Michelle O’Byrne MP
Shadow Minister for Jobs