JobKeeper recipient numbers fall by two million

JobKeeper recipient numbers fall by two million

Green shoots of recovery can be seen in the Australian economy as the number of Australian businesses requesting an extension of wage subsidy JobKeeper fell below forecasts in October.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has announced preliminary data shows around 450,000 fewer businesses and around 2 million fewer employees qualified for JobKeeper in October than in September.

The data comes from a re-test of business eligibility for the second phase of the scheme, involving the processing of applications from around 500,000 entities covering more than 1.5 million employees or eligible business participants.

"These preliminary October JobKeeper figures suggest an improvement on the 2020-21 Budget assumption of 2.2 million recipients for the December quarter, with around 700,000 fewer employees/eligible business participants covered by the Payment in October due to their employer no longer meeting the required decline in turnover test," says Frydenberg.

"The lower-than-forecast take-up of the JobKeeper Payment extension in October is further evidence that Australia's recovery from this once-in-a-century pandemic is well underway.

The Federal Government made nearly $70 billion in payments for the 13 JobKeeper fortnights to 27 September 2020.

Treasurer Frydenberg highlights recent economic data shows outside Victoria employment has recovered to be less than one per cent below March levels, with some 650,000 jobs created in the past five months nationwide.

"The Reserve Bank of Australia has recently updated its forecast for the unemployment rate, which it now expects to peak at around 8 per cent, down from its earlier forecast of 10 per cent," he says.

"The effective unemployment rate decreased from 9.3 per cent in September to 7.4 per cent in October, with around 80 per cent of those who lost their job or stood down on zero hours now back at work.

"In Victoria, as restrictions have eased, the effective unemployment rate has fallen from 14 per cent to 10.5 per cent."

Updated at 11:20am AEDT on 30 November 2020.

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