JobKeeper numbers in line with more optimistic economic outlook

“The lower than expected number of businesses eligible for JobKeeper since the end of September is an encouraging sign of an economy picking up more firmly than was previously anticipated. This is in line with the more optimistic outlook from the Reserve Bank and the strong gains in employment recorded in October,” Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Ai Group the national employer association, said today.

“However, we should not think that we are out of trouble yet. Even with the very healthy addition of 178,800 jobs in October, there were still close to 265,000 more people unemployed at the end of October than at the end of February. The recovery clearly still has a long way to go and fiscal policy will remain critical to maintaining momentum. Both the Prime Minister and the Treasurer have indicated their willingness to consider further fiscal stimulus if the recovery begins to falter.

“One area of concern from some Ai Group members is that eligibility for JobKeeper from next January will require a reduction in turnover of 30% in the last three months of this year compared with the same three months of 2019. However, the last three months of 2019 was a particularly weak period adversely affected by drought, falling residential construction and the general slowing of the economy. Our fear is that many businesses who are struggling to maintain employment levels early in the new year will find themselves prematurely cut-off from JobKeeper and that this will dampen the recovery,” Mr Willox said.

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