One in four Australians now on JobKeeper

One in four Australians now on JobKeeper

Update (22 May 2020): It has since come to light that the Treasury and Australian Tax Office (ATO) have drastically reduced their projected number of JobKeeper recipients by three million. Read more here.

Approximately one in three Australians is being supported by Government assistance programs like JobKeeper, JobSeeker and Youth Allowance as the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 economic crisis take their toll.

These numbers were announced today by a grim Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg alongside the release of April's unemployment figures, which saw women and young Australians hit disproportionately.

The Treasurer says there are 6 million Australians - or approximately one in four people - receiving the stimulus package from the approximately 850,000 businesses that have formally enrolled in the program.

There are also 1.6 million Australians on JobSeeker and Youth Allowance.

The JobKeeper program is set to be reviewed in June, when the Government will determine how to move forward with the $130 billion package.

The Government's ultimate plan is to reinvigorate the economy by easing restrictions gradually across the nation.

The Treasurer says some 850,000 people will be back in work as a result of Stage One, Two and Three restrictions being lifted. This should also deliver a $9.4 billion boost to the national economy.

"There is still a long way to go, and the economic numbers will get worse before they get better," Frydenberg said.

Youth unemployment spikes

Youth unemployment has risen during April as a result of the COVID-19 financial crisis, described by Prime Minister Scott Morrison as "terribly shocking".

As part of the release of unemployment figures for April 2020, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has revealed that youth unemployment (those aged 15 to 25) rose to 13.8 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent in March.

The figure is more than double that of the national unemployment rate of 6.2 per cent, but both figures in fact do not take into consideration the hundreds of thousands of people who have actually given up on looking for work, and therefore are not included in the unemployment figures. 

Speaking to the press today Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the scale of the crisis is unlike anything seen in recent Australian history.

"When I left University, and soon after, we went into the last recession," Morrison said.

"It was hard. This is harder. We haven't seen this before.

"And for many young people who have never experienced that, this is beyond anything they could imagine."

The figures demonstrate how young people have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 restrictions, with many working in sectors like hospitality and tourism that have been completely shut down by the coronavirus.

Women also represent more than half of the newly unemployed 603,300 Australian workers, with 325,000 women joining the 1.8 million unemployed in the country.

Updated at 1:00PM AEST on 14 May 2020.

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