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More than half a million Aussies to lose jobs: CBA economists

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

A grim forecast from CBA economists has predicted 580,000 people will lose their jobs as a result of COVID-19.

More than half a million Australians are tipped to lose their job as a result of the coronavirus outbreak as the economy suffers it's biggest fall since World War II.

In a research note to clients this morning, Commonwealth Bank economists predicted 580,000 jobs will be lost as a result of COVID-19, with the economy to contract by 7.5 per cent in the second half of 2020.

The note also predicts Australia's unemployment rate to lift sharply to 7.8 per cent.

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The unemployment rate has gone down slightly in February.

For context, Australia's current unemployment rate (meaning the percentage of adults out of work) sits at 5.2 per cent.

During the Great Depression in the early 1930s, Australia's unemployment rate peaked at 19.75 per cent.

Westpac's chief economist Bill Evans has lifted his unemployment rate forecast to 11.1 per cent, and expects job losses in the June quarter to affect a staggering 814,000 people.

"Economic disruptions are set to be larger as the government moves to address the enormous health challenge which the nation now faces," Mr Evans said of revisions to his forecasts released just last week.

"That challenge is probably best summarised by a potential shortage of ICU beds in coming weeks if we do not significantly slow the rate of infection immediately."

Hundreds of thousands of Australians who are now out of work are being encouraged to visit a new web platform called "Job Active" which lists positions available.

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said the government was trying to help connect Australians with work.

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"These are critical jobs that will contribute to keeping the economy going and keeping as many Australians in work as possible," she said.

While many sectors have been hard hit because of the pandemic, others are seeing increased demand.

They include the health and care sectors, transport and logistics, some retail, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and government work.

Employers hoping to connect with potential workers can directly contact the Department of Education, Skills and Employment.

"If you are hiring, particularly scaling up your workforce quickly, I encourage you to email our workforce contact centre so you can be connected with the support you need to get your workforce on board," Senator Cash said.

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You can also get up-to-date information from the Federal Government's Coronavirus Australia app, available on the App Store, Google Play and the Government's WhatsApp channel.

Source: 9News

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