Coronavirus Australia Update: Nearly 600,000 Jobs Lost In April As Unemployment Rate Surges

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Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers the national apology to sexual abuse survivors at the Parliament on Oct. 22, 2018.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison delivers the national apology to sexual abuse survivors at the Parliament on Oct. 22, 2018. YouTube/ About the House: the official channel of the Australian House of Representatives

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed the grim truth close to 600,000 jobs were lost in April. This was brought about by the expansive coronavirus restrictions that have forced businesses to shut down.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Thursday revealed the highest monthly rise of unemployment in the country, with 594,300 people losing their jobs in April. Morrison said the news is “devastating.”

"Almost 600,000 jobs have been lost, every one of them devastating for those Australians, for their families and communities," Morrison said during a press conference Thursday.

"A very tough day, terribly shocking, although not unanticipated."

Unemployment rates in casual and part-time workers have been specifically worse. Figures among 15 to 24-year-olds have risen to 13.8% — double the national rate.

Underutilization rate, which is a combination of unemployment and underemployment, is at a record high of 19.9%.

The prime minister further warned the numbers could climb in the coming months as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging across the globe continues. International travels worldwide remain banned, and countries are just starting to slowly reopen their economies.

In Australia, the stay-at-home order has been in place since mid-March. Some territories remain on lockdown.

"We knew there would be hard news as the pandemic reaps an impact on Australia, as it is on countries around the world," Morrison said.

"In the months ahead, we 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."

In all, ABS noted that 2.7 million Australians have lost their jobs, had their hours reduced or have left the workforce.

As of May 14, 2:44 p.m. Sydney time, there are 6,989 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 98 deaths, according to Worldometer data.

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